Reviewed by Bill Tokash
Appalachian artist Tyler Childers is an “overnight sensation” eight years in the making. In 2018, during his “emergence”, he’s played both the Grand Ole Opry and Lollapalooza and had his name mis-pronounced while being named the Americana Music Association’s 2018 “Emerging” Artist. He even recently played with legendary songwriter John Prine on Austin City Limits. His recent take (paraphrased) that he wasn’t quite sure how all this came about, but that it may be best described as someone leaving the back door open while he snuck into your living room seems half accurate.



Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Rock and roll with the purity of mountain spring water. Sarah is very sweet, but when she is performing, it is take no prisoners. There is a rawness and authenticity in Sarah’s music that has not been experienced since Lucinda Williams was in her prime. Sarah’s music has a punk rock edge and attitude, even on the slower numbers. The emotion is real whether tempo is fast or slow. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
It was good to see a “big” show in Baltimore. Most artists go to Philly, skip Baltimore completely, and head right to DC. It happens all the time, so much so that it hardly registers. But maybe the tide is turning. I was surprised to see a sold out crowd on a Tuesday night right here in Baltimore, hon. Especially an artist such as Tyler that gets no airplay on terrestrial radio. He is played on Sirius XM Outlaw Country. But this movement is grass roots. It’s word of mouth and it is very powerful now that it has built up momentum. The crowd last night was not your typical Federal Hill crowd. People traveled for this show coming from distances over 60 miles. On a school night!


Review by Harry Kaplan
It is very rare that a show sells out at Southgate House. The shows draw very well, but sell outs are not too common. The only show I remember selling out recently was The Breeders and now two nights for Tyler Childers. On a weeknight! I think this is a testament as to how popular Tyler is. Granted, this is his home turf, but some people drove over two hours to see not just one, but both shows. Tyler’s current town of Irvine, KY was well represented. Most of the people knew every word to every song. The point is this – this is a grassroots movement, going from town to town. And he makes fans wherever he goes.
I can’t say enough good things about the venue, Southgate House Revival. It is one of my top three favorite music venues of all time. Even when there is a big crowd, the vibe is always positive with good energy flowing from the bands to the audience and back again. It completes a circuit. I can’t think of a better place to see a show. And it seems like the bands that play Southgate mingle with the crowd more than anywhere else I have seen shows. 
And once you see or hear Tyler and the crack band, you will understand why. The music is fantastic. And it is scale-able. I could easily envision this show in a 5,000 seat arena, or even bigger. The music and playing are great. And the band chemistry is palpable. Yes, the chemistry is evident, you can see it. And more importantly, you can feel it. I was fortunate enough to attend both nights. I could have easily gone to a third. 
Arlo McKinleyarlo-3Photo courtesy of Wayne Litmer

The first night was Arlo solo and a full band for night two. Both shows had a tremendous amount of energy and feeling. The first night was just electric. It was great to be able to concentrate on the singer and not really focus on anything else. Arlo’s songs are so well written and performed that either acoustic or electric are a treat. I was very impressed. And he did two songs with Sarah Davis, which were absolutely brilliant. Their voices blend so nicely together and Sarah can flat out sing. 
Blank RangeBlank Range Live.jpg                  Photo Courtesy of Wrenne Evans
Can you imagine what it would sound like if you mixed Neil Young and Pink Floyd? Well, wonder no more. Blank Range sounds like someone dipped Laurel Canyon into San Francisco in 1968.  Their sound is country as all get out, but they also have the ability to jam and get spacey. They can also lay down some seriously filthy (and beautiful) guitar riffs similar to the master, Mr. Young. Yes, I am glad someone saved the fuzz. It sounds wonderful! 
Tyler Childerstyler_childers2.5a0f1cc8f1b45
The buzz surrounding Tyler and his band is legit. They are great and ready for the prime time. I can tell that Tyler is so down to earth that fame will not change him. He is a genuinely nice guy (and so is the band) that truly likes his fans and feeds off of their energy. Also, the way he thanked the audience throughout the show was totally sincere and heartfelt.
Tyler knows that his fans travel well and he never forgets that. It is really nice to see someone who really gets it. His talent alone is deserving of greater exposure but the fact that Tyler is a great person makes me root for him even harder. As I stated, both nights were wonderful. If you get a chance to see Tyler Childers. either acoustic or with a full band, don’t miss the opportunity.
Tyler Childer’s website

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Finally, an album that is the proper length. Strange Conversation clocks in at 38 minutes, the sweet spot. This is the blues having a three-way with jazz and country. All three partners are equal participants that work towards the greater good of the group. No, this isn’t Animal Farm. This is about the interrelationship of three pieces working perfectly in concert. Mandy is also full of surprises. Just when I think the album is going in one direction, it takes a sharp turn and changes course. Let’s add a little bit of Motown to the mix.