Tyler Farr Talks Getting Vulnerable in New Music: ‘I Let Myself Go to Places I Wouldn’t Normally Go’
When Tyler Farr headed into the studio with his new producer (and longtime friend) Jason Aldean, his deal with Aldean's Night Train Records still freshly inked, he wasn't looking to cut just any song. He meticulously selected his single "Only Truck in Town" expressly because the song toes a fine line between edginess and relatability, and is radio-friendly but not watered down.
After all, the singer is not a debuting artist. Farr charted his first hits in 2013 while signed to Columbia Records, and has plenty of experience developing his personal brand. He's learned the importance of being choosy about the songs he cuts, and fortunately, Aldean agrees with his instincts.
"When I ... found out Jason was gonna be producing me, I was like, 'So what are you expecting from me? Where do you see my brand going? What do you see me doing?'" Farr recalled to The Boot at February's 2020 Country Radio Seminar.
"And he literally just said, 'You do you. Just do Tyler Farr,'" the singer continued. "'That's what people want. You have your own style. You have your own unique brand. Basically, my goal for you is just to get you back to what you do best, and that's just doing you.'"
As he began to compile songs for his new project, Farr found plenty of ways to accomplish that goal of "just doing him," and his single's blend of relatability and rock edge is a perfect example. Still, like any songwriter, he's evolved in the years since he put out hard-drinking hits such as "Redneck Crazy" and "Whiskey in My Water."
"I still raise a little hell now and then, but it's more dialed in," Farr admits. "I'm not hanging out at [Nashville bars like] Winners and Losers -- I can't even tell you the last time I went out just to go out. Nowadays, it's more sitting on my farm or going to my pond -- reading novels."
His horizons have broadened over the past years, Farr adds, and the material he's writing reflects that.
"When you're first writing, it's like, you're trying to write a hit. Now, it's more about writing just because you love to do it," he goes on to say. "Sure, you wanna write a hit, but you've lived a lot longer, so there's more stuff to write about. I wasn't married years ago; I'm married now.
"So my writing, it's not all sad songs, but it's not "Redneck Crazy,"" Farr continues. "It's definitely evolved as far as that goes."
Farr says that his new batch of tunes includes some of the most vulnerable moments he's ever put out. For example, he offers "I Wish Dogs Could Live Forever," which is one of four tracks on his Only Truck in Town EP, released Friday (June 5).
"Neil Thrasher wrote it, and he's a great songwriter, one of my favorites. I heard this song and started crying like a baby," Farr relates. "My dog died last spring, and so this song really hit home.
"I never really went there emotionally with a song before, but on this one, I did," he continues. "I play it at my shows now, and sometimes I start to think about it and I have to fight back, because I don't wanna lose my stuff ...
"On these songs, I kinda let my guard down and let myself go to places I wouldn't normally go," Farr adds.
That vulnerability is made possible in part because of his career to date, Farr explains. Over the past years, he's gained an important perspective on his songwriting and his place in country music.
"It's hard to explain. You start looking at things a lot different, slowing down a little bit and really soaking in the stuff instead of just blowing by like everything's a blur," he says. "That was pretty much the first six years of my career: just moving by so fast.
"Now," Farr admits, "I feel like I have a better outlook on it. I know how to do it now."
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