Tyler Childers is Back, and Taking Chances
It was during a recent conversation with “grassroots country star” Tyler Childers that he expressed the importance of being an ally in today’s world. Childers, known for his detailed portrayals of contemporary rural life through his music, has been using his platform to address important social issues. His recent albums, “Long Violent History” and “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?” have touched on racial injustice and religious freedom, respectively. Now, Childers is taking another step in his journey as an ally by releasing a new album and a video that tells a sweeping love story between two men.
A Bold Move
Childers has enlisted the help of his friend and collaborator, the noted author and Kentucky poet laureate Silas House, to write the video for his new song, “In Your Love”. The video, directed by Bryan Schlam, features gay Hollywood stars Colton Haynes and James Scully as two miners who build a life together in a Kentucky holler. This bold move by Childers is aimed at showcasing the diverse stories and experiences that are part of the Appalachian region. House states that he wanted to show that these stories “are part of the story of Appalachia, too. These are human stories, not political stories.”
The Power of Representation
Childers and House believe that representation is crucial, especially for those who come from marginalized communities. House notes that seeing oneself in art is an important thing, particularly for those who come from “other” places. The video aims to depict the lives of queer people living ordinary, normal lives in the South, challenging stereotypes and showcasing joy instead of focusing solely on despair.
Appalachian Stories in America
The significance of Appalachian stories in the context of America today is a topic worth exploring. House, as a novelist, notes that readers crave stories from the region. However, there is still some baggage associated with these stories due to ingrained stereotypes. House acknowledges that even well-intentioned readers may take away stereotypes that were not intended by the author. This points to the need for nuanced storytelling that avoids perpetuating clichés.
The Importance of Specificity
Childers and House discuss the importance of specificity in storytelling, particularly when it comes to avoiding clichés. Childers draws inspiration from his surroundings, the topography of the Appalachian region, and the specific experiences of his own life. House emphasizes the need to zoom in on the specific rather than assigning human qualities to animals or relying on stereotypes. By capturing specific moments and details, artists can create a more authentic and powerful connection with their audience.
Allyship and Pushing Boundaries
The discussion also delves into the role of allyship and the challenges that come with pushing boundaries within the country music genre. Childers acknowledges the risk involved in being true to oneself and speaking out against the status quo in his music. However, he believes that it is necessary to contribute to the world he hopes to see. House emphasizes the importance of artists from dominant identities using their platform to support marginalized communities and promote change.
This collaboration between Tyler Childers and Silas House represents a significant step forward for country music and the broader music industry. By telling a queer love story in their video, they are challenging stereotypes and giving visibility to a community that is often marginalized or misrepresented.
Furthermore, Childers and House demonstrate the power of art to inspire empathy and understanding. By telling human stories, they remind us that we are all connected and that love knows no bounds. Their specific and authentic storytelling allows audiences to see themselves and others in a new light, breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of shared humanity.
This bold move by Childers not only showcases his growth as an artist but also exhibits his commitment to using his platform responsibly. By being an ally and supporting marginalized communities, he sets an example for artists across genres and encourages them to embrace opportunities to promote social change.
For artists and musicians seeking to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new opportunities, the collaboration between Tyler Childers and Silas House serves as an inspiration. It reminds us that taking risks and challenging expectations can lead to powerful and transformative art.
When considering allyship, it is essential to approach it with empathy and authenticity. Artists should take the time to educate themselves about the communities they wish to support and listen to their stories and experiences. It is crucial to approach allyship as an ongoing process of learning, unlearning, and growth.
Artists can also make a difference by embracing specificity in their storytelling. By focusing on the details and nuances of different communities and cultures, they can break through stereotypes and offer a more nuanced and accurate portrayal of people’s lives.
Lastly, it is important for artists to consider the impact of their work and how it can contribute to positive change. Tyler Childers’ decision to create a video that tells a queer love story demonstrates the power of art to challenge societal norms and create space for acceptance and understanding. Artists should use their platforms to uplift marginalized voices, promote empathy, and foster meaningful conversations.
In conclusion, the collaboration between Tyler Childers and Silas House represents a meaningful step forward for country music and the broader music industry. It encourages artists to embrace new opportunities, step out of their comfort zones, and use their platforms responsibly to promote social change and inclusivity.
<< photo by Atikah Akhtar >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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