There is a line from Jared Tyler’s bio that puts his career into perspective—“There is no best way to introduce Jared Tyler. He’s too many things.” Still in his 30’s the artist has accomplished so much in a short span of time. Playing Dobro with Malcolm Holcombe since 1999, he has also worked with many artists and bands such as Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Wilco, fellow Okie John Moreland in a recording capacity or as a supporting act. As a producer he has worked with Jesse Aycock, Jimmy LaFave, Monica Taylor and Malcolm Holcombe, among others.
Dirt on Your Hands is Tyler’s 3rd solo record. He made his national debut in 2006 with Blue Alleluia (Produced by the legendary Russ Titelman) and followed up with Here with You in 2010 (co-produced with Chuck Zwicky who was the mixing engineer for Prince). Dirt on Your Hands was co-produced with Nashville bassist, Dave Roe who also plays on the record. This recent solo project has allowed for Tyler to collaborate dear friends and incredibly talented people with players and guest spots from John Fullbright, Malcolm Holcombe, Kenny Vaughn, and Jellyroll Johnson to name a few.
Already growing crowds in Tulsa and with a listening audience nationwide, Tyler is set to expand his audience with Dirt on Your Hands. Written as a nod to his roots and community, the record is the most Americana/roots sounding project that he has ever released as an artist. Described as World beat Americana Soul Tyler’s music straddles many genres including folk, blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, red dirt and soul without losing focus on the songwriting and Tyler’s voice.
“I’m a lover of songs telling honest stories of love and loss on this path of human existence,” said Tyler. “The songs I write or interpret are dear to my heart telling the stories of my life experiences. My hope in sharing these songs is that they would strike a chord in others that have gone through similar experiences or have felt the same way- somehow making them feel a little better.”
A longtime fan of Malcolm Holcombe before he began playing with him, Tyler covers two of his songs, “Dressed in White” and “The Door” and covers friend, Dixie Michell’s song “Waltzing Around With My Shadow”. Tyler wrote 4 of the songs on the record and shares writing credit on 5 of the songs.
The 12-song album kicks it off with “Death of Me” a song encouraged by dear friend and luthier, Dixie Mitchell (who has since passed) and written for his life partner, Jacob Mehlhouse. “[Dixie] had showed me a lick on the guitar that I believe might’ve been in an old Chet Atkins song and I just loved it,” explained Tyler. “I twisted it around within a few minutes started scatting with my own melody and Dixie said that it sounded like a hit.”
The title song “Dirt on Your Hands” was inspired by Tyler’s memory of his grandma’s compost pile and the worms they used to dig out for fishing in the neighborhood pond. Co-written with Monty Holmes (who wrote “when did you stop lovin’ me” and “Troubadour” for George Strait, and “Never again, Again” for LeAnn Womack), the song felt like a “power song” for Tyler—“I felt like the message for this song perfectly summed up this collection of songs, so I made it the title track of the record.”
Jared Tyler’s grandfather who was a fiddle and mandolin player is credited with putting a tater bug mandolin in Tyler’s hands at 6 years old when he taught him 3 chords. “Lucky Man” is the song that brings to mind his grandfather’s advice, “If you can count your friends on one hand, you’re a lucky man.” “Musically I wrote this song on a mandolin with a more bluegrass feel to it, but in the studio we just went with the moment, and it turned out a little more of a red dirt rockin’ vibe,” he explains.
Tyler finishes up the album with “Love of You”, a personal love song. “One night while Malcolm was visiting Tulsa for a few shows, we were sitting outside talking and I had a ukulele I was plucking on,” said Tyler. “There was a half a moon in the sky and a bright star (probably a planet) right next to it. I started singing the first line of the song, and Malcolm said there you go - there’s a song. I roughed out the idea, and then played it for Jamie Kindleyside in Dickson, TN. He helped me simplify it even more, and articulate what I was really trying to say. In it’s almost nursery rhyme form - my true feelings were conveyed. I would usually be too shy to ever put out a song like this one, but it was from such a deep place of love that I knew it needed to be on here. I love how the two songs written to Jacob start and end the cd.”
As a special note, Tyler’s friend, Dixie was, as mentioned, a luthier. She was world-renowned for making acoustic instruments under her company name, Guitar Company of America. Due to their masterful tone Tyler made a point to feature her instruments as much as possible on the record. Tyler plays her hand made Nick Lucas-style guitars on “Death of Me,” “Waltzing Around with my shadow,” “Heart Wide Open,” “Gwendolyn,” and “Norway” and a mandolin she made on “Waltzing around with my shadow” and on “Lucky I Am.”
Jared Tyler’s diversity of sound is the standout for this record. Comfortable in large settings including Ryman Auditorium and Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, the artist also loves performing acoustic music in intimate listening rooms (he just returned from a week of performing at the Folk Alliance Festival). “Growing up in the buckle of the Bible belt as a gay man has given me a unique perspective on life, and I think my music can cross genres and speak to people on all walks of life.”
Dirt on Your Hands is released June 2rd, 2017.