Tyler Bryant was born to play music. The 21-year-old guitar prodigy has been playing since he was six and was bred on the roughneck blues of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Bryant’s impressive resume reads as if he’s been in the business for decades. Tyler was awarded the Robert Johnson Foundation’s New Generation Award at 16, which pointed him out as one of the most promising new guitarists on the scene. He was featured in the award-winning documentary Rock Prophecies (one of the most viewed documentaries on iTunes & Netflix), along with Santana and Slash, and was chosen at age 15 by Eric Clapton to play his Crossroads Festival. Just recently, Tyler was handpicked by Jim Lemley to work on the score for the Fox Studios blockbuster, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, produced by Jim Lemley and Tim Burton. These are just a FEW of Tyler Bryant’s many incredible accomplishments!
Tyler is joined on stage by his just-as-extraordinary bandmates. The Shakedown is comprised of an incredible array of musicians including Caleb Crosby (drums), Noah Denney (bass) and Graham Whitford, the son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford (guitar).
Lucky for us, Tyler took the time to answer some of our questions regarding his band The Shakedown, his mad guitar skills and the new album, Wild Child! Check it out!
How did you and your band mates come together?
I moved to Nashville when I was 17 to write songs. I wanted to put together a rock & roll band for fun so I started asking around to see if anyone knew of any cool drummers. Everyone I talked to said that Caleb Crosby was the guy for the gig. We got together and I told drummer jokes the whole time. I didn’t think he would ever talk to me again! Ha! We’ve been playing together for a little over four years now. I met Graham Whitford in New York City and he was introduced to me as the guy who was gonna put me out of a job. I heard him play a few months later and knew he had to be in my band. The first time I met Noah Denney, we were auditioning bass players. He was number 21 or 23 or something. As soon as he walked in, I knew he was the guy for the job. He gets some really dirty sounds out of the bass. It’s wrong and I love it.
Who or what inspired you to learn to play guitar?
Elvis Presley was the first influence I can remember. I died my hair black and my mom made me a shiny gold jacket so I would look the part. You could say that I had somewhat of an identity crisis when I was younger. I wanted to be Elvis so bad. When I was 11 years old, I met a man by the name of Roosevelt Twitty. He was sitting in the far left corner of Holly Bond’s music store in Paris, TX playing some old Lightnin’ Hopkins style blues. I was obsessed and knew instantly what my calling in life was going to be. I’ve been a full-time music man ever since.
You recently released your full-length debut album, Wild Child, with The Shakedown. How does this album differ from My Radio and From The Sandcastle?
It’s much more of a band effort than our previous releases. We produced on our own and made it the way we wanted to. I also feel like the songs have evolved and represent the band a little better than anything else to date. We tracked the record completely live for the most part and I’m really proud of the way it turned out. It sounds like a band in a room with their instruments. That’s the kind of music I love.
How has the use of social media affected your band’s presence in the music industry?
It’s been great for the Shakedown. I love the community that our fans have built up for us. We put the content there for them and they run with it. For me, it’s a great way to share art with people. I’ve made a lot of friends and a lot of fans through all the different social media outlets and I’m very grateful for the people who support us through all the different mediums.
If you could play a show with any musician / band, dead or alive, who would it be?
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Period.
What artists / bands have you been listening to lately?
Dr. John, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Rival Sons, Foy Vance, Johnny Guitar Watson, The Cadillac Three, Free, Queens Of the Stone Age, Allen Stone, Travis Meadows, Vintage Trouble, Aerosmith, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Foo Fighters, etc… We listen to all kinds of different music on the road. I love listening to old cowboy songs when it’s my turn to drive. “Amarillo By Morning”… That’s my jam.
If you were to buy music today, what would you buy: A CD, a record, or an MP3?
I would buy a record. It’s more personal to me. I want to look at the artwork, read the liner notes, put the needle down, & flip sides when the time comes.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013?
We’ve been touring a ton and writing new songs in our free time. I can’t wait to go back into the studio. We’ll be doing a lot more touring and a lot more recording!
Check out Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown rockin’ out at Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday, April 26!