When I’d heard about Tyler Bryant he was opening for Jeff Beck a few months back and I knew very little about this young guitar prodigy from Texas. But after seeing him at that show there was no way I was going to miss this lad and his own band in all the way from Nashville, tonight at Moncton’s “Tide & Boar Gastropub”. If you’ve never had the opportunity, which I’d had before, to eat at the Tide & Boar I highly recommend it. With everything made in-house, even right down to the ketchup, the food is unique and just all around yummy. With items like a twist on cheescake, with irish-cream cheescake on a stick, and “boar poutine” it’s a tasty adventure to be had. The atmosphere is cozy, with two levels, good prompt service, and good food…another great feature is their penchant for live entertainment bringing in great live shows, including tonight’s, from all over. This feature also garnished them a chance to be one of the live venue’s for showcasing acts at the upcoming East Coast Music Awards in about a week’s time. I highly recommend the Tide & Boar as a place to eat and play…now on to the show!
Tyler Bryant got his first guitar at the age of 6, and at the ripe old age of 21 he’s already been playing for 15 years, and making the most of it. He banged around on that guitar until at 11 he traded a new motorcycle, a gift from his parents, for his first electric guitar. While still young, he had the fortune to meet an old bluesman from Texas named Roosevelt Twitty, and he taught Tyler an appreciation for the blues.
While in high school he started to expand his musical horizons and listen to more straight up rock and roll, artists like the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, and the Black Crowes (that themselves have a bluesy undertone). This music influenced his playing and at 17 Tyler moved to Nashville to write and play, and in the process met drummer Caleb Crosby and bass player Calvin Webster (who was celebrating a birthday of sorts on this night in Moncton). Caleb and Calvin joined Tyler’s band, which now also includes guitar player Graham Whitford, who is the son of well known Brad Whitford of Aerosmith.
When you talk to Tyler, which I had a brief moment to do before the show, you learn that he’s just a simple guy that loves what he does, loves music. He’s not trying to be anyone else, like the next Stevie Ray Vaughn, he’s just trying to be his own musician with his own sound that pulls in all his influences and play some straight up rock and roll music. Having played with some impressive musicians like Clapton, Bonamassa, BB King, Vince Gill and more he’s got no shortage of influences to draw from but he still harkens to the old blues greats like Muddy Waters as some of his favorites.
As I said I’d gotten to speak to Tyler briefly prior to the show and asked him to play one of my favorite TB songs in “Lipstick Wonder Woman” which is a fantastic tune. Not only was he kind enough to play it for me but dedicated it to me as well, which was a nice touch on his part, and appreciated (I’d hoped he’d do the acoustic slide version from his Aimeeland recording, but hey, I’m happy!). He played a lot of songs from their current CD ‘From The Sandcastle’, songs like ‘Kick The Habit’ and ‘Shackles’ (another favorite). They also referred to a new CD coming out soon and played a great new acoustic song from it called “My Tangerine”. Telling stories around the songs of the boys moving to Nashville, driving across Canada in their Winnebago (and breaking down and blowing a tire in a location where no one spoke English) and having fun playing music, doing what they love, lucky guys.
Speaking of playing I have to mention the “Shakedown”, Tylers friends and bandmates who not only are great musicians themselves but at times showed that they too have serious skills with which to accompany Mr. Bryant. The drum solo by Caleb Crosby that had him venture right out into the crowd, drumming on the wooden floor boards, amp racks, and band mates, anything his sticks could reach was a treat to watch. Solos by both bassist Calvin Webster and guitarist Graham Whitford showed why these pieces all fit together so well. Bryant’s many ventures off the stage and into the crowd was not only appreciated but absorbed, the crowd in awe of his skill.
This show had it all, from great blues, to rock and roll, to stories, amazing solos and more. I encourage you to get out to see Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown if you ever get the chance (help them get out of their broken Winnebago), if you appreciate strong, well played rock and roll this is the band to see. I also encourage you to check out the Tide & Boar…I recommend the Boar Poutine!
Hopefully the next time I see Tyler perform I’ll get the chance to chat with him a bit longer (perhaps when I visit Nashville in October) and pick his brain a bit more, maybe I’ll have a new song to graciously ask him and his band to play for me from their new CD. Either way I look forward to the next time I see him play, there definitely will be a next time! I want to thank Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown for a great night of entertainment, the Tide & Boar for great food and great entertainment (keep it up!) and encourage all to check out both! Until next time!