Tyler Farr has fond memories of his hometown of Garden City, MO, a "very rural town" he says, with a population of about 1,000. In Garden City you'll find "no red lights, no fast food, one diner, two gas stations – one beer, bait, and ammo shop – where you can go in and rent a movie, buy you a case of beer, and sight in your cross bow all in one sitting, which is my kind of place."
While being from a small town might be a hindrance for some, Farr looks at his upbringing differently. "I learned a lot there about soaking up your surroundings. I wasn't paying attention at the time, but if I look at my lyrics now, the stuff I had written about – a lot of was influenced by the town I grew up in."
Farr can hear many of those stories come to life on his debut disc, "Redneck Crazy," which hits stores next week (Sept. 30). The current single and title track has rocketed to No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart. His first album is something the singer is eagerly anticipating.
"I think for any artist, this is a big milestone that they wait for. We've had a couple of singles out before 'Redneck Crazy,' but you wait till the right time when you have that big hit so you can sell some albums. We finally found that in this song. It's really an exciting time, and I feel really blessed to even get to release a country album to listeners and fans."
One aspect of "Redneck Crazy" that will set itself apart is how musically diverse it is. There are several songs that are definitely radio-ready with a commercial sheen, but at the same time, he also stretches his range – especially on the stunning closing track, "Living With The Blues." He said he set out to make an album that highlighted his many influences.
"I don't just listen to country music. I love it, and I'm one of the biggest Hank Jr. fans you will ever meet. I love Vern Gosdin and George Jones, but I listen to everything. If it's good music, I want to hear it. I've been influenced by several different varieties of music, being classically trained and having that experience – all the way to loving hip hop. I just made an album that I would want to buy and listen to while driving down some back road – one where I could play the whole thing and not take it out after one or two songs. That was my goal."
That being said, it was a country legend that was one of his biggest inspirations. When he was sixteen, his step-father went to work playing lead guitar for George Jones. Farr admits that he needed a crash course in the "Possum," but he was glad he had the experience.
"I knew who he was, but he wasn't as popular in high school as he was at the peak of his career. I knew he was a legend, but not the full extent. I soon found out. I spent some time out on the road with him and Nancy, and baby-sat their grand kids. Standing on the side of the stage one night, I watched him do 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes,' and it filled my entire arm up with goosebumps. It lit a spark in me, and that was the number one reason I fell in love with country music. I have never seen an artist tell a story and sell it like George Jones," he said.
With concert dates lined up throughout the fall – many as an opening act for Florida Georgia Line, Farr now realizes what other artists mean when when they talk about the fast pace of success.
"I understand why people say that now. I didn't two months ago. You think it doesn't make sense, but everything comes at you so fast. My album is about to come out, the single just hit top-five, and I didn't even know it. I had no idea. Someone asked me what it was like to have a top-five record. I said 'Wait. What? We have a top five?' It feels awesome. I didn't know. You have to make time to stop. it's a very humbling experience to have fans and country radio embrace you. I'll never forget those moments – like people singing back the words. These are all once-in-a-lifetime experiences."