For this week’s Creator Conversation, I have Jared Tyler’s third solo record, Dirt on Your Hands. 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.
How do you describe yourself and your music?
I’m a lover of nature and music. That sums up a lot of my life and experiences. I try to put Love at the top of my priorities, and I hope my music reflects that. Musically speaking, I’d say that I came from the lineage of Red dirt, roots, and Soul.
What got you interested in music and sharing it with others?
“My mother used to take me to the Bluegrass and Chili Festival in downtown Tulsa every year which is where I was exposed to acoustic music artists such as Alison Krauss and New Grass Revival. That music really moved me so I aspired to write and perform in that style.”My father used to lead singing at a church in Owasso where I grew up so I was exposed to singing at a very young age. I would sing along to the melody (an octave above), and my dad wouldn’t have it – he made me sing a harmony part if I was going to sing at all- so that was my first interest I guess you could say. My mother played a little violin and mandolin as well, and had her instruments in the house. She would occasionally get them out to let me try to jam to the Mandrell Sisters show on TV. Also, my Grandfather on my dad’s side played the fiddle and mandolin. He put a taterbug mandolin in my hands somewhere between the age of 4-6, and I was hooked on music! We would sit and watch Hee-Haw together on Saturday nights while he played along. He bought me a cheap guitar before he passed in 1987, and I soon started taking lessons at Guitar House of Tulsa. It stuck for awhile, and I learned some of the basics, but it wasn’t until the age of 12 when an elder from our church bought me my first legit acoustic guitar (a pawn shop Yamaha) that I really got serious about playing. That gentleman taught me more chords and songs and then I took more lessons to learn enough to start accompanying myself. My mother used to take me to the Bluegrass and Chili Festival in downtown Tulsa every year which is where I was exposed to acoustic music artists such as Alison Krauss and New Grass Revival. That music really moved me so I aspired to write and perform in that style.
Use only seven words to describe your album, Dirt On Your Hands.
Red Dirt Roots Soul From the Heart
What was the greatest challenge you had when making the album?
I would say it would be the business side of it all. Music is the fun part, but that doesn’t pay your bills – so there’s the business side for that. It can be daunting to navigate through the new business models for releasing music without a label holding your hand, but in the end, I think it’s all worth it. I’ve learned so much already during the release of this new record, and now I have an utmost respect for the people in the music business doing all the day to day tasks that it takes to make a career happen. I’ve often heard this phrase repeated amongst my colleagues; “ We play for free – we get paid to travel.” (paraphrased)
Who are some of your musical influences?
(In no particular order:)
-New Grass Revival
How do you stay in a positive direction when negativity surrounds you?
That’s a very good question. I think it’s really on a moment by moment basis for me. I try to stay optimistic at all times, but it can be tough in this ole world sometimes.
Yoga and breathing exercises always help as does playing music, and of course fishing 😉
I think the most important thing to remember is that there is always hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and most importantly a better now. That’s what helps me stay positive.
What would most likely be the death of you?
Not being able to play music or go fishing anymore.
What do you feel lucky about?
Besides just being alive – I would say having such good and supportive friends.
Tell me, what’s some beauty seldom seen in Oklahoma?
I would have to say the Salina, OK area. People know about it no doubt, but I’m surprised how few people I see when I go there. The Pumpback Lake there is gorgeous and that area is almost like parts of Colorado topographically speaking. Then there’s the Blue hole in that area – crystal clear, cool water for the heat of the summer.
Where are some of your favorite places to drink up at in Oklahoma?
Well, if by drink up you mean enjoying some libations, then I’d say I’m partial to The Colony in Midtown Tulsa. It’s my neighborhood watering hole, and I think a lot of the artists in town feel the same way. If I’m not there then I’m at the Mercury Lounge. Both places offer a nice selection of brews, and of course, they both have great music every night of the week.
Anything else you want to say or let people know?
Other than a big thank you for those taking the time to read this interview – I’d just like to say that it’s an exciting time to be a singer-songwriter in Oklahoma! There is such a healthy kinship between all the artists here, and I’m honored to be a part of that circle. We all help each other out and lift each other up – and that’s how it should be in a community.