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Booth sticks to his roots

Brighton Music Hall, Boston, February 24, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Life as a musician could be a bit of a downer these days for Tyler Booth. Apparently, he is no longer on Sony Nashville, which put out a few EPs, yielding no sizable hits. And on a Saturday night, maybe there were 100 people in the house.

No matter for Booth, who covers both traditional and Outlaw country sounds. He has a dyed-in-the-wool country voice – drawl and all – to go along with his country band. And with a strong baritone and a panoply of songs, Booth underscored that he's at least as good live as his recordings.

It didn't necessarily start off particularly promising with a rather generic, rock-flavored song, but Booth quickly hit his stride with "87 Octane" and a few songs later with "G.O.B. by the G.O.G" (which translates into "Good old boy by the grace of God").

Booth threw a few new songs into the set as well, including the just-released "Drinkin' Buddy," written about a friend who passed away, and the unreleased "All This Could Be Yours." Both worked in a set that switched gears enough to keep the night interesting.

David Carter, who once upon a time was in the band Yankee Grey, excelled on pedal steel and Dobro as the heart of the band. He added just the right sound throughout the 95-minute show.

One can often tell a country artist by the covers that he keeps. In the case of Booth, that resulted in tackling Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road," Jimmy Martin's "Free Born Man," a few George Strait songs ("Amarillo By Morning" and "Check Yes Or No") and near the end a spirited version of Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show Ketch Secor's "Wagon Wheel."

Booth stood on firm ground with each of his choices.

In Booth's case, you could also tell where he comes from with songs like "Real Real Country" and the closing cruncher "Hank Crankin' People." Both describe the southern blue collar ethos: "talkin' hardworkin', God-fearin', beer drinkin', hank crankin' people."

Perhaps Booth has been too traditional for country radio to get play. To his credit, he's sticking to his roots and presumably doing the music he wants to do. He's a lot better off for it because this show played to Booth's – no matter how many people were in the house.

Oklahoma native Houston Bernard opened with a satisfying acoustic set. At times, he echoed the late Toby Keith's ethos of being big on patriotism, but, fortunately, also went beyond that sentiment. Perhaps never more so than on "In My Blood," about his family, which included some real outlaws.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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