Long Violent History
"Justice for Breonna Taylor, a Kentuckian like me."
Five minutes and 22 seconds into the striking video, that Tyler Childers posted to YouTube in September – a spoken liner note that sets up the title track from his surprise new album, Long Violent History – the much-beloved singer-songwriter utters those words. It's a grounding detail in a statement full of specifics, a clear and simple plea for empathy.
Childers, who's emerged in recent years as the foremost roots-music representative of the white working and underclass of the mid-South, directly addresses those among his fan base who've been "taken aback" by what they perceive as the inexplicable violence of this summer's Black Lives Matter protest. Citing his own struggles to get sober and the general malaise coronavirus has brought, Childers holds his fans hands' metaphorically: "In the midst of our own daily struggles, it's often hard to share an understanding for what another person might be going through."