The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Tyler Bryant
Paris, December 5th, 2019
Tyler Bryant is a rising force in the world of blues and rock ’n’ roll music. The 29-year-old blues virtuoso guitarist and singer-songwriter has accomplished what many artists twice his age would only dream of. With his band, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, the Texas-born musician has toured with numerous rock giants including AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and ZZ Top, and released three studio albums too. FACT’s Edward Smith caught up with Tyler Bryant himself at his recent gig in Paris, here he talks all things music exclusively with us!
Tyler! You’re touring in Europe at the moment – tell us about your fan base here?
We’ve been to Europe several times as we did support slots for ACDC and headline dates here. Here, once fans are with you, they are with you, they are very loyal! They are not just a flash in the pan, they are fans of the whole experience and they come with their friends and they are ready for loud music in their faces. My only issue in France is the sound engineers who like it very quiet and they are always complaining: “You are the loudest band and the audience is going to go cuckoo!” to which I always reply: “dude you don’t know our audience!”.
How do the American and European audiences differ?
Oh that’s funny cause it is a bit like the chicken and egg situation, when you ask European bands the same question they will tell you that Americans are more passionate about bands and if you ask American bands they will tell you Europeans are more passionate about bands! I think the Shakedown is different than most of the stuff that is being made in Europe. We come from the south, I grew up on blues that was native to the area I grew up in, so lots of people haven’t heard that type of music like the sound of Lighting Hopkins for example and the blues from Mississippi too. I really did my homework on blues and I think people in Europe have a really deep respect for the southern traditions. With that said, we have a very passionate audience in America and in Europe and it’s not an audience built-up from radio hits, TV shows, viral videos or hashtags but because they come to a live show, they saw that we delivered and give it all on the stage and we bleed for it!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Omg, yes a lot! I’m an anxious person and I am pretty OCD too and I keep on telling myself I will stop doing all my rituals but they are not hurting anybody and help me to keep my headspace. I have some oils that I put on about 30 mins before the show each night and I have a playlist called ‘hype’. For an hour before the show I have a complete song ADD session and I go to my favourite parts of all these songs from the Black Angels, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Blackberry Smoke, Freddy King, Albert King… Something I do as well, I text my family, wife and some friends before each gig and write “showtime!” and it is a bit like if whatever happens I set my peace with everyone from where I feel I’m leaving all on the stage.
For people who are not aware of your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
I would say that the Shakedown is just 60 per cent pedal to the floor Rock ‘n’ Roll and 30 per cent Blues and 10 per cent pure heart. It is hard to put the band in a box as we will have a song like ‘drive me mad’ and a song like ‘out there’ and with the years we have been more vulnerable with the song writing and it sounds like our songs mean more to our fans nowadays.
When I moved to Nashville, when I was 17, to start a band and for a while it was Tyler Bryant band which sounds lame and no one will go to see that. Then Caleb, Graham and Noah came onboard and bring so much to the table that I couldn’t imagine playing without them so it changed the rules of the game. It was more than me hiring some Nashville session players but it became a gang, a brotherhood and let’s all have ownership in this and let’s make it a band. We decided to make a thing where you starve together, you feast together, and we are team.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Jeff Beck, ZZ top, Muddy Waters, Tom Petty who will stand at the top and Elvis. I used to pretend I was Elvis when I was a kid. I dyed my hair black, had a gold jacket and the leather pants too. I used to write Elvis, when I was a kid, on my school papers.
Your second single Don’t Mind The Blood was quite political (time of the election). Is the upcoming election inspiring any new music?
I can’t say that I have taken much inspiration from the political climate in America, as these topics drain your energy and it is so disheartening. I have reached a point of my life where I just got married and bought a house and I’m choosing to be inspired by the positive in life at the moment. The song ‘Don’t mind the blood’ was inspired by a woman who got thrown out of a wheel chair at a protest, it was less a US domestic policy issue than a moral problem; should we fight for the ideas we believe in or should we lose power over our lives.
Throughout the years the themes and references in your lyrics seem more profound – do you agree?
When we made ‘Wild Child’ I was only a teenager and that was a snapshot of then and our new album, ‘Truth And Lies’, is a snapshot of now. I have been going through life and pick up stuff and I feel it is a responsibility to say stuff which is personal sometimes because I feel a responsibility to say things for someone who couldn’t or who didn’t have the courage to do so. This is how it works for when I connect to song as a fan, when I feel it took guts for that man to say that and needed to hear it and all of a sudden, I’m a fan for life. So I think music is about connection and I think this last album has strengthened the connections we have with our audience.
What’s currently on the playlist on the Shakedown tour bus?
I will tell you what is my preshow playlist: Sad But True by Metallica, Young Men Dead by Black Angels, Broke Down on the Brazos by Gov’t Mule, Waiting for the Thunder by Blackberry Smoke, Them Bones by Alice in Chains, Dead and Bloated by Stone Temple Pilots, Earth Rocker by Clutch, Been Away too Long by Soundgarden, Get Free by The Vines, anything that’s rock ‘n’ roll by Tom Petty, Audioslave Set It Off by Audioslave, Travelin’ Man by Albert King, and Feeling Better by Hank Williams Jr. That’s my theme song right now, ‘I’m feeling better now that I’m back on the road.”
What’s the one song you wish you’d written?
“I won’t back down” by Tom Petty.
Any plans for a solo album?
No, it’s not a priority at the moment but I do want to make a solo album one day as I have a whole batch of songs which are more personal to my life, to where I’m coming from, which are just stories with the people I grew up with, almost written in the same style as country songs more in the vein of ‘out there’. With the Shakedown you can’t get away with too many of these sorts of songs because your fans want to rock!
What are your hopes for the future of the band?
Just to keep building organically, making records, touring, growing our fan base brick by brick, and leaving every venue we played a pile of bricks!
For more information about TBSD latest concert in paris please visit this link: https://www.dustofmusic.com/tyler-bryant-shakedown-paris/