GALLIPOLIS — Tyler Childers, a musician recognized by both National Public Radio Music and Rolling Stone, will be headlining the River Rat Festival this Saturday in Gallipolis City Park.
The festival starts at noon and runs to 11 p.m. in celebration of craft beers and music.
“I was approached by someone that works with River City Leather,” said Childers. “I’ve followed them online for a really long time and like seeing the stuff that they do. I thought it would be a good opportunity to come to Gallipolis and play a little music.”
Childers, 26, says he’s played in both Athens and Scottown during part of his musical touring career. He originates from the Louisa area of Kentucky, about 40 miles south of Huntington, W.Va. He said he started playing music at a young age as he attended church with “Mamaw” occasionally playing the piano. He received his first guitar at the age of five, played a few chords and stuck with it. He always enjoyed writing and reading and that would eventually influence his stories in both song and word. Much of his music is influenced by bluegrass, country and southern rock music.
“I try to write songs based on my own life experiences and my own observations of lives around me,” said Childers. “I just try to write relatable songs for the culture that I grew up in…I did landscaping and laying floor and a lot of manual labor in one way or another. Somedays you don’t want to wake up and go to work but you got to do it and have a work ethic.”
The east Kentuckian would start playing at house parties and find open mic nights before networking his way into gig shows.
“I’ve been touring a lot or a little since I was about 19 and 20,” Childers said. “I still have some gospel songs that I play in my set sometimes. First song I ever played was ‘Old Country Church’ and I still play it from time to time…”
Childers said he feels most comfortable in smaller acoustic sets.
“Nothing beats a good dive bar where everyone is having a good time,” said Childers. “So long as they’re not out of hand.”
As part of his work as a musician, Childers said he felt it was an honor to be interviewed by such outlets as Rolling Stone as people often look to them to find and hear opinions on new music.
“I think it’s something that my Papaw would have been proud to see,” said Childers.
Simpson Sturgill and David Ferguson helped produce Childers’ first nationally recognized album “Purgatory,” which debuted in early August. Ferguson has helped engineer work with Johnny Cash.
For more information, visit riverratfestival.com. Tickets will also be available the day of the performance for $40. Other acts anticipated to play include The Builders and Butchers, CAAMP, Hexnet of the Dell, Maggie, Swampfoot and Apollo Makes Fire.