Review of Tyler Childer’s Newest Album, “Long Violent History”


Tyler Childers’ new song addresses the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo Credit: Clay Banks

Claire Mulkey

Tyler Childers has slowly made a name for himself in the country music world. His music is not mainstream country, but more alt-country, bluegrass, and folk. Nothing proves his versatility and divergence from typical country music culture more than his latest surprise album.

Entitled “Long Violent History,” the album is composed of nine songs, eight of which are solely instrumental. Childers’ songs always have an old-fashioned bluegrass, outlaw country feel, but these differ in that they don’t feature his voice until the last song. 

Childers released a video explaining the last song so that fans weren’t taken aback or confused by the track, which is his reflection on the Black Lives Matter movement. He compares his experience as a poor white boy from rural Kentucky to that of a Black person’s experience in the world: 

“It’s called me belligerent, it’s took me for ignorant

But it ain’t never once made me scared just to be

Could you imagine just constantly worryin’

Kickin’ and fightin’, beggin’ to breathe?”

His song relates to those who grew up and are growing up in struggling parts of rural America, those who don’t feel the privilege the world tells them they have. Childers wants his white listeners to see that though they have felt disadvantaged or even discriminated against because of the way they talk or dress or work, their skin color gives them protection from many of the things Black Americans are not given protection from. In the accompanying video, Childers asks listeners to “start looking for ways to preserve our heritage outside lazily defending a flag with history steeped in racism and treason,” before listing ways the Southern heritage and history should be celebrated, like “learning a fiddle tune…raising some animals, canning our own food, hunting and processing the animal, fishing.”

Childers’ takes up the fiddle in his newest album
photo credit: Dominik Scythe

The song has quickly gained popularity, and has further cemented him as the voice of “21st century Appalachia,” as Rolling Stone magazine called him in 2018. Tyler Childers’ album “Long Violent History” proves that country music is evolving and doesn’t hold quite the same beliefs as its reputation does.