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Music in North Carolina has gained a lot of notoriety on a national and even international scale in recent years, in a multitude of genres. From folk/Americana to metal, hardcore, and punk rock, and even to the upper echelons of mainstream hip hop, the North State has put itself on the map by producing some of the world’s most diverse, driven, and sincere artists.
Charlotte, North Carolina’s Tyler Brown is no stranger to this atmosphere. Growing up, Brown started playing violin in a strings ensemble for school before his tenth birthday. By thirteen, he had moved to guitar and shortly after began writing music with a hardcore band called Within Reach while he was still in high school. The energy and positive messages he became familiar with in the hardcore community had a huge impact on Brown in his youth, which you can hear most expressly in the lyrics of his solo music, as well as the more chaotic sounds of the post-hardcore powerhouse that goes by the name Richard Parker, in which Brown plays the role of lead vocalist.
“One way the aggressive music I grew up on still influences is me is definitely in my writing style, which tends to be very straightforward,’ says Brown. “I’ve always been attracted to being able to say what you want, without having to dance around it.”
If you take a listen to any of Tyler’s solo work, you’ll certainly agree. Comeback City, Brown’s phenomenal first EP, is more reminiscent of singer/songwriters like Ryan Adams and Nick Drake. You hear soaring, atmospheric, folk-tinged songs of a tormented young man trying to make sense of the world around him in a quality that is beautiful and cinematic, but never overzealous, with lines that get stuck in your head for days.
Brown’s most recent project, The Hollows, showcases a songwriter that’s more confident with his ideas and who is more aware of his strengths as a songwriter. Brown consistently pulls off the tricky feat of playing moodier and darker, while at the same time providing this sonically patient, comforting feeling that perpetuates through the entire song. It’s something that lets the listener know that something is wrong, there is a violent hurricane out there, but if you allow yourself to be resilient, you can be assured that whatever bad things are happening will let up soon and you will know peace again. “What’s most appropriately relative,” says Brown, “is that I believe in love and I believe in reason, so I keep faith in those things, and I believe in sharing these things with everyone I come in contact with, because there’s no time not to. Going around without hope or faith defeats life’s whole significance.” Simply put, Brown is growing into a better writer; his songs are becoming more real, and more uniquely his own.
o Tyler is in the process of completing The Hollows, and is looking forward to a spring release.
o You can hear Comeback City, in its entirety, as well as a handful of demos from The Hollows at www.tylerbrown.bandcamp.com
- Jesse Hill