Tyler Childers, a bluegrass and country musician out of Kentucky, released a surprise third album today titled “Long Violent History.”
The nine-track piece consists of eight instrumental tracks and a ninth, self-titled track. Each piece consists of heavy bluegrass motifs, heavy banjo and mandolin-picking with a lead fiddle played by Childers’ himself who practiced the instrument heavily during the pandemic.
The majority of the album feels like a soundtrack for a tranquil autumn season coming out of the 1920’s, the tintype portrait cover tying it all together.
However, made evident on his website, the final track is the only one he sings on but comes out of left-field for the listener as the song focus on themes of racial injustice.
This is especially noticeable in the lyrics “Could you imagine just constantly worryin’, kickin’ and fightin’, beggin’ to breathe?”
In a six minute monologue on his website, Childers mentions that he wants the message to be clear as possible and asks others from rural America who could misinterpret his words to imagine if they met a similar fate black Americans face when encountering police.
Many country artists have come out in support of Black Lives Matter including Chris Stapleton, Kacy Musgraves and Jason Isbell among others. These statements of support have made many country music fans angry when considering non-flattering accusations of Marxism and violence in relation to the organization.
The reason I believe this album is important is because of roots it holds: a young country artist out of a predominantly white and rural community seeped with a history of racist tendencies making a bold and published statement many of his fans need to hear.
For change to happen, people need to hear statements being made by people they can relate to. Childers is that person for his fans.
As a huge fan of the artist, I certainly can confirm how taken aback I was with the song. Being led into a sense of comfort with the instrumental tracks, the self-titled song forced me to go into deep contemplation.
The message I get from this song is not one of the increasing violence against colored Americans, but the lack of its recognition.
I believe that, as Christians and as a white Christian myself, our job isn’t to question the justice or lack thereof in crimes against colored Americans but to be a support for them, to show our black brothers and sisters love in a time where they need it most.
If we can’t bring ourselves to do this, then the fight will end without a victory on either side. God calls us to help the disenfranchised and it could not be more obvious who Christians need to be fighting for.
All proceeds from the album and merchandise associated with it will be donated to the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund, a fund formed by Childers and wife, Senora May, to support underserved communities in the Appalachian region.