Tyler Farr is a thinker.
The down and dirty singer/songwriter who made it big with number one hits such as “Redneck Crazy” and “A Guy Walks into a Bar” is always looking around, always writing down song ideas, always gaining inspiration from a world that seems to transform every time you blink.
So, on his new four-song EP Only Truck in Town releasing Friday (June 5, choose your service) one might expect Farr to provide fans with a pent-up, lyrical tidal wave of self-penned songs that come as a result of five long years between albums.
But, think again.
Farr didn’t write one song on the new album.
But he easily could have.
“If a song doesn’t make me feel some way, I’m not going to cut it,” Farr tells American Songwriter, just hours before the EP’s release. “It’s got to tell my story and my fan’s stories, and it has to be real. I’ve got to feel it deep in my soul.”
Take for example “I Wish Dogs Could Live Forever,” a song written by legendary songwriters Neil Thrasher and Kelley Lovelace and a song that eerily relates back to Farr losing his beloved dog Cooter in the spring of 2018.
“I got pitched that song last summer and I just bawled like a baby,” says Farr, who is actually a trained opera singer and studied voice at Missouri State University. “I have a very emotional attachment to that song. I don’t mind being vulnerable with the fans on songs like that.”
And then there is “Heaven on Dirt,” written by Jeremy Bussey, Taylor Phillips, Jordan Rager and Michael Tyler and a song that Farr says pushed him completely out of his comfort zone.
“To be honest, I probably wouldn’t cut this one 5 or 10 years ago,” says Farr, who released his sophomore album Suffer in Peace back in 2015. “I just wouldn’t have thought it was for me, but I tried it, and it felt awesome.”
And then there is “Soundtrack to a Small Town Sundown,” a song written by Jonathan Singleton and Jon Nite and one of those country story songs that Farr has always been drawn to.
“I love a song with descriptive lyrics and a song with details and a song that paints these colorful pictures of what its like in the country,” he says. “Story songs are the foundation of country music and I’m determined to keep these sort of songs around.”
But if there is any song on the EP with the collective heartbeat of Farr and his new label boss Jason Aldean within it, it’s on the almost certain summer hit “Only Truck in Town,” which was actually written by Ben Hayslip, Deric Ruttan and Josh Thompson.
“Me and Jason (Aldean) worked our butts off on this song and this whole project frankly,” says Farr, who signed with Aldean’s label Night Train Records in partnership with BBR Music Group last year. “He knows me as well as anyone knows me and we have always appreciated each other’s music. He knew exactly what he was getting when he signed me. He wasn’t just another label head that didn’t get it. (Laughs.) He wanted me to make Tyler Farr music. I mean, to be honest, we were very blunt with each other. We saved a lot of time not trying to hurt each others feelings. We got to skip the B.S. in the studio and just got to making the music we wanted to.”
And as Farr begins this new chapter within his career, one might wonder when the Missouri native will snag his next number one as a songwriter. His last one with co-write credits was 2013’s “Whiskey in My Water,”
“I have ideas I have stockpiled,” Farr admits. “I can tell you that I’m not just writing the beer drinking songs I used to. I’ve lived a little more life, you know?”
We all have, especially in the last few months.
“People say I have an old soul,” concludes Farr. “When you have all of this stuff going on, it makes you think. We are in a world that is moving so fast. Most people aren’t picking up their bible anymore, they were picking up their cell phone. They put God in the background. But now, I think we have been given a chance to do things differently, a reset in a way to get back to the simple things in life. And it’s sort of cool that’s what country music songs have represented all along.”