By Matt Wickstrom
Not quite one year to the day since dropping the critically acclaimed Country Squire, Tyler Childers is back with a little help from his friends Ricky Skaggs, Larry Cordle and The Travelin’ McCourys on the two-track Spotify Singles sessions featuring a rambunctious bluegrass-fueled retelling of “House Fire” and a country/rock cover of “Highway 40 Blues.”
The sessions, co-produced by David Ferguson and William Garrett and recorded at The Butcher Shoppe in Nashville back in February, kicks off with “House Fire,” one of the singles off of Country Squire that comes equipped with an opening much like it’s now year-old counterpart, featuring a subtle start that sees Childers’ subdued vocals and acoustic guitar of Heaven McCoury, son of Travelin’ McCoury’s Ronnie McCoury, paired with expert fiddler and Ashland, Ky. born Jason Carter.
Shortly thereafter the rest of the McCoury crew—Ronnie McCoury, banjoist Rob McCoury and bassist Alan Bartram—slowly ease themselves in, soon adding a layer of harmonies as they sing the chorus “You can set my house on fire baby / You can turn it into cinder and smoke / ‘Cause this house is mighty cold and I feel like / Melting all the snow away” before veering into a blistering bluegrass breakdown.
Upon jumping back into the song, Childers’ and the McCourys sustain the jam’s frenetic pace both in their picking and with sped up vocals, further adding to the song’s infectious and intimate ‘sitting around the campfire’ vibes.
Originally written by Larry Cordle in 1982 and popularized by Ricky Skaggs, both inductees to the Country Music Hall Of Fame and both natives of Childers’ hometown of Lawrence County, Ky., “Highway 40 Blues” begins with Cordle on vocals, fitting given he’s the song’s source, who tosses the mic around throughout the dusted off cut to both Childers and Skaggs as they navigate their honky-tonk sculpted surroundings.
Although each sing verses on their own, with Childers following Cordle and Skaggs coming last, the trio eventually come together on the song’s closing lines, their collective howls much like that of a pack of coyotes echoing through backwoods Eastern Kentucky hollers.
Listen to Childers’ Spotify Singles session below.