Tyler Childers - “Can My Hounds Go To Heaven?” Album Review

Story posted October 4, 2022 in

Tyler Childers has emerged as one of the faces of modern country music, and his latest release “Can My Hounds Go To Heaven?” turns his rapid rise to stardom into a sputtering trip to mediocrity.

This triple LP is a multi-genre confusing mess that takes everything that brought Childers into the spotlight and shifts it into something new.

This is Childers’ fourth studio album and first since 2020’s “Long Violent History.” The 24-song record explores themes of religion, recovery and unity while offering a diverse set of sounds for a diverse set of new listeners and familiar fans.

Each LP contains the same songs, however each are associated with a theme: one titled “Hallelujah,” the next “Jubilee,” and lastly “Joyful Noise.” Two of these feature relatively the same songs with a different mix, however the third is completely unique and something that may have never been done in country music.

Childers continues to showcase his masterful lyricism throughout the entirety of the LP, however the biggest issue is the idea that more equals better.

Ironically, there are truly only eight songs on this record, but the time that went into creating multiple versions over the same lyrics could have gone into creating multiple new tracks that can further explore the messages Childers tries to get across.

The “Hallelujah” version is heavily inspired by blues, funk, gospel and soul, while Childers’ voice manages to add a country element that makes this section of the release a fun listen.

Although a fun listen, the “Hallelujah” version of this album feels as though it is missing something.

That something missing is found in the second section of the record, the “Jubilee” version. Adding horns and implementing aspects of hip-hop sampling with added sound bites, the middle eight tracks take all the best qualities from the first section of this record and expand on them, highlighting Childers’ talent as an artist.

Last and certainly least, the term “Joyful Noise” is an extreme exaggeration to what Childers produces for the final section of this record.

Childers has proven himself to be an excellent songwriter, however while trying to explore unfamiliar territory in terms of production, his attempt to create something unique ends up sounding like a child’s production using Garage Band on their iPad.

Creating a Frankenstein-like sound fusing country, funk and electronic music, the final eight tracks on “Can My Hounds Go To Heaven?” manage to erase any redeeming qualities from the previous 16.

This album is not for typical country fans. To call it country at all is an oversimplification of the sound that Childers created.

This product from Childers is simultaneously a step forward for his creative vision and recovering from personal struggles as well as a step back in terms of breaking through into the upper echelon of country music artists.

Rating: 4/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Angel Band (Hallelujah Version)”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “Angel Band (Joyful Noise Version),” “Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven (Joyful Noise)”

Matt Zwiercan is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mzz5317@psu.edu.