For as long as I can remember music has been a part of my life. From dancing to Michael Jackson to listening to vinyl records with my grandmother to recording songs off the radio at night while I slept. It’s just something that I have loved for as long as I can remember. However there is one musical memory that stands out above those and that is watching CMT with my great grandmother. Besides the usual things a person may recall about a great grandmother, the one I remember most vividly is almost every time I went to visit her she was watching CMT. I don’t know if it was just noise in the background for her or if she actually liked it. I never asked. I just enjoyed the moment, the time with her.

Those times were the start of my love for country music. Those early days set the groundwork for me, artists like Joe Diffie, Blackhawk, David Lee Murphy, and of course Garth Brooks. As I got older and started buying my own music I got into older artists Merle Haggard, The Charlie Daniels Band, Johnny Cash and old Bocephus himself, Hank Williams Jr. Yep I was golden but then the genre became watered down I thought, I had to look deeper for artists I liked. I didn’t look that hard actually, as I was also into punk rock and at that point that took over my world. And then about 7 years later I discovered Eric Church and I thought to myself this is country music. Man that first album was so damn good. From there I started listening to a few other artists. And since then Country music has been a part of my world again.

I believe that most of the country music artist that a majority of the masses listen to these days cannot hold a flame to true country music. I am talking about musicians such as Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Justin Wells, Tyler Childers, and Colter Wall.  This fact was solidified on September 28 when I saw the last two mentioned at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH. That show very well may go down as one of the best shows I will see in 2017.

I will be honest, before this show I hadn’t listened to Colter Walls. I just knew of him and that he was making waves. So I was excited to see him. And let me tell you, he made a fan out of me that night. I was hooked from the very first song. There is something about his dark husky voice that just pulled me in and I was in heaven his entire set. He started his set with just him and his guitar for the first two songs, which I was more than ok with. With the third song his band joined him. They added another layer to this already amazing set. The standout of his band was his fiddle player. She was all over the place. At one point she took center stage up front and the crowd loved it. I was curious if she makes music on her own. I need to look into that. Another highlight for me was his cover of “Nothin’ by Townes Van Zandt. If I had not already been pulled in, this cover would have done it. Another aspect of music I like is knowing the inspiration for songs. Before Colter played “Motorcycle” he told us the story behind the song. One night he couldn’t sleep so he put on an Arlo Guthrie album and next thing he knew it was daylight and he had written a song. So naturally that inspired me to go listen to that song. Turns out it’s one that I actually know. Colter Wall put one hell of a set, one that I would see again. I am already looking forward to the next time he comes around.

After a quick change over Tyler Childers hit the stage and the place went nuts. I turned to my friend and asked when did this happen? When did Tyler Childers become so huge? The Newport was packed. I even asked the same friend when we were there a week later for Drive-By Truckers if it were more packed a week earlier for Tyler and she said yes. WOW!!! Is all I got. I see why the show was moved from the much smaller Basement now. He has a huge fan base. However I’m not surprised. Two years ago for this very blog I mentioned him in a review of A Nine Bullets Showcase I went to in Lexington, KY.  My exact words were, “That is another name to remember. Good things are coming for that young man.” And look at this, two years later he is becoming a household name. Unlike the first time I saw him, on this night he played with a full band and they added so much to his set. After his first song he mentioned his first two times in Columbus and how nice it was to play  this show t so many people. One of the highlights of Tyler’s set was his amazing cover of “I got stoned and I missed it” by Dr. Hook. I t always nice when an artist puts their own spin on a cover and that’s what happened on this night. Tyler and his band did this song justice. And of course it was this song that there was a certain aroma filled the venue. No matter how many concerts I attend one of my favorite things is hearing songs that I really enjoy and love. When “I Swear (To God)” was played I was probably at my happiest that night. There is something about that song that just makes me smile.  It’s one of those fun songs. “Whitehouse Road” is another favorite. Hearing that one live gave the song new life for me. The emotion in his voice was a thing of beauty. Speaking of Tyler’s set, I also appreciate that you can hear the soul in his voice a little more and also at one point I swear I was watching jam band, which also made me smile.  So if you get the chance to see him live, I would not pass him up. This was one of those shows that I was still thinking about it a week afterwards. It looks like I’ll be seeing him again in November. And I can’t wait.