Tyler Bryant

Written by Randy Patterson

September, 2011

 

tylerbryantshakedownTyler Bryant (second from left) and the ShakedownThere’s nothing like being on the ground level of something big that’s starting.  Whether it’s investing in a stock of a young start-up company or the early stages of an underdog political candidate who goes on to win the office they’re seeking against incredible odds.

That’s how I feel about a young guitar prodigy by the name of Tyler Bryant.  Several months ago Desiree, a loyal Boomerocity reader from Pennsylvania, turned me to Tyler, encouraging me to check out some of the video of him on YouTube.  What I saw held me spellbound and I was immediately hooked as a fan.  I also felt like I was getting in at near the ground floor level of something phenomenal that was going to be big.  Really big.

Tyler is already commanding attention and creating an incredible amount of buzz wherever he goes and plays.  The crazy thing is:  There are people – very talented people – who have been at it a lot longer than he has and haven’t achieved ten percent of what he has.

Since learning of Bryant, I’ve been researching his history and work and what an incredible story it is.  He first picked up the guitar at 6 years old. A few years later, he reportedly sold a dirt bike that his parents had just given him so that he could buy an electric guitar.  He was turned on to the blues at the age of 11 when he walked in to a Paris, Texas, music store and heard Roosevelt Twitty playing a Lightning Hopkins tune back in the corner of the store. From that point he was hooked on the blues.

By the age of 15, Bryant had his own touring band, gaining notoriety in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma – even winning the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation’s New Generation award. The following year, he was tapped by Mr. Slow Hand himself, Eric Clapton, to play at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago.  Having finished with high school early, he packed up and moved to Nashville at the age of 17. 

Once he hit music city, he formed a band consisting of fellow guitar player Graham Whitford (son of Aerosmith co-guitarist, Brad Whitford), Caleb Crosby on drums, and Calvin Webster on bass. Together, they form Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and are enjoying a gradual, high-climbing trajectory that is sure to place them in ever larger venues and played on a growing population of fans. 

So far, that ascent has had them share stages with Jeff Beck, Heart, REO Speedwagon, B.B. King, Paul Simon, Vince Gill and quite a few others.  In fact, a couple of years ago Vince Gill said about Bryant, “To be 18 and play like this dis is the rarest of the rare. Hands down a future guitar god.”

Tyler and I recently spoke by phone to, among other things, discuss his upcoming album, From The Sandcastle, that will be released on Tuesday (read the Boomerocity review here).

Before we started chatting about Sandcastle, I asked Bryant if he misses Honey Grove, Texas.

“Yeah, I do. I just got back to Nashville last night. We went to L.A. and played a

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