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Tyler Booth on Starting at Small Town Festivals to Collaborating With Brooks & Dunn (Exclusive)

The Kentucky native talks to Celeb Secrets Country about how his collaboration with one of the genre’s most iconic duos came about and talks about his own single, “In God and Trucks We Trust.”

Photo credit: Matthew Berinato

Tyler Booth is the definition of an American Country singer’s dream.

The Kentucky native earned himself a spot on Brooks & Dunn‘s REBOOT album prior to having signed a record deal, and caught the eye of hit songwriter Phil O’Donnell early on in his career as an artist. Despite growing up listening to rock music, Booth is making a name for himself in country music as an artist and songwriter with songs every Southern boy can relate to such as his single “In God and Trucks We Trust.”

“When we wrote ‘In God and Trucks We Trust,’ I’d just gotten back from being on the road with Dwight Yoakam,” said Booth. “While on the road, I recall looking out the window of the sprinter van and seeing a dusty tractor out in the middle of a field somewhere in Iowa and thinking, ‘Man, they have to bust their butts for a living here too.’ To me it’s a story about how hard work, sacrifice, and the love of one another and God makes us stronger. It’s about the simple things in life that we do every day that make us a community. It’s about me, who I am, and why I am the way I am.”

Now, Booth is signed to Villa 40 and Sony Music Nashville, and just released his new song “87 Octane.” 

“‘87 Octane’ may be my favorite ‘feel good’ song that I’ve recorded to date,” says Booth. “It gives me that roll your windows down, let the wind blow in, and sing it loud feeling of a backroads country summertime. I hope that it gives other people that same kind of feeling.”

Booth is still working on new music to release for his growing fan base, and spoke to Celeb Secrets Country about how he was introduced to country music and how he got his start in Nashville.

Celeb Secrets Country: How were you introduced to country music? Was your family musical?

Tyler Booth: “I was introduced to music really early; my dad actually had a rock group when I was a kid. The earliest point I remember picking up a guitar I was probably 11 or 12, I’d be in the rehearsal room and just kind of learning chords as the [my dad’s] band was practicing. As I got older I realized that my voice isn’t suited for this kind of [rock] music and I really fell in love with country music like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and guys like that. That’s kind of when I started writing and then writing led me to performing.”

CSC: You have a new song out called “In God and Trucks We Trust.” Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind it?

TB: “That song really kind of hits home with the way I live and the way the people around me live. The way we wrote the song is it’s so broad-I think the main meaning behind it is just those things that you depend on like Christ and things that put bread on the table, and things that you enjoy doing and that’s the reason why you work. It’s kind of a broad song but basically about having things that you depend on.”

CSC: You worked with Phil O’Donnell on your EP. What was it like working with him and how were you two introduced? 

TB: “I was at Morehead State University in Kentucky at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music; I had taken a lot of music classes there and had written a lot of songs. My professor heard some songs I was writing one day, I guess he thought my songs were good, and he sent them down to a guy in Nashville. We got a call from a 615 [area code] number and it was Phil O’Donnell. Phil was really eager to write with me and I was just blown away. When I got down to Nashville we started writing a lot together and talked about putting an EP together-that’s what we did back in 2017. I wrote with a lot of great writers and it was a great experience for me. To this day we still get in writing rooms and it’s pretty hard to believe I’m working with guys like Phil. It’s pretty inspiring.”

CSC: Do you have a favorite memory from working with Phil O’Donnell?

TB: “From working on the EP, my favorite memory would have to be just us writing; ‘Greyhound or a Slow Train’ was one we wrote together on. Just brainstorming different ideas for other songs and being creative…we’ve had so many awesome experiences now. I think the Brooks & Dunn project was a big one, just having Phil and Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks all in the room together was pretty amazing.”

CSC: Can you tell us more about working with Brooks & Dunn. You were featured on their REBOOT album, how did that come about?

TB: “I was at my grandmother’s place, sleeping on the couch, and my dad woke me up and said, ‘Hey Tyler, we got a big offer-they want you to be a part of the Brooks & Dunn project’. At the time I had no idea what he was talking about, I thought he was just pulling my leg and trying to wake me up, so I went back to sleep. We actually had a funeral later that day, so we were at the funeral home and we were sitting besides each other and I was like, ‘What were you going on about…was there any truth to what you were saying about the Brooks & Dunn project?’, and he said yes. I didn’t know the song well, I knew it but I really didn’t know it know it enough to sing it. I had two days to get the song down really good and went to Legends Studio, which is no longer there, and started singing. I wasn’t expecting Ronnie and Kix to come in-they were still kind of a pipe dream to me until I saw them walk in. Kix and Ronnie heard my vocals on ‘Lost and Found’ and they started smiling and singing harmony along with me.”

CSC: What is one thing you learned from being featured on the Brooks & Dunn project?

TB: “I learned how great of a community Nashville is. I was so humbled and appreciative that Brooks & Dunn would bring me along on that project because at the time I was the only person on that record that wasn’t signed; I was blown away by that because they could have chosen anybody to be a part of that and for some reason they chose me. It was pretty amazing. They’re really good role models for me to follow.”

CSC: With all of the tour cancellations, what have you been doing in quarantine to stay connected to your fans?

TB: “I’ve been writing every day and have been doing a lot of Facebook Lives. I’ve really just been enjoying being home and hanging out with family, hunting, fishing, and trying to stay connected with everybody. I sure do miss being out there and meeting people and traveling.”

CSC: Since we are Celeb Secrets Country. Do you have a secret or a fun fact about you your fans may not know?

TB: “Probably my musical inspiration, and my favorite color is yellow. That’s not typically a guy’s favorite color.”

Written by Kassidy Stewart

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