Tyler Childers and his band the Food Stamps are adding a little extra shot of ambition to the fall, announcing plans for the new triple album Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? on Thursday. The project, which follows Childers’ 2020 release Long Violent History, will be released via Hickman Holler Records/RCA Records on Sept. 30.
Divided into three distinct parts — Hallelujah, Jubilee, and Joyful Noise — the conceptual project takes eight new songs and presents them in styles fitting those descriptions. Hallelujah versions are Childers’ core band playing live in studio, while the Jubilee version adds strings, horns, and even dulcimer and sitar. Joyful Noise versions will be released on the day the album comes out.
The first release from the project is “Angel Band,” the Hallelujah and Jubilee versions of which are out now. “Angel Band (Jubilee Version)” is soaring gospel country, an easygoing groove that gets layered with strings and horns until it sounds positively like a gig in the sweet hereafter. “Hallelujah, jubilee/I can hear the angel band,” Childers sings, stretching out his words with reverence. It’s accompanied by a video that features Childers and the band, and follows one man’s journey to join the ranks of the angels.
The theme of faith and salvation runs through the albums’ songs, inspired by Childers’ own experiences.
“I grew up Baptist and I was scared to death to go to hell,” he says in a release. “And a lot of that stuck with me. Filtering through that and trying to find the truth, and the beauty, and the things you should think about and expelling all that nonsense has been something I’ve spent a lot of time on.” The different versions, he says, are like “processing life experiences in the different philosophies and religions that have formed me.”
“Message wise, I hope that people take that it doesn’t matter race, creed, religion and all of that like — the most important part is to protect your heart, cultivate that and make that something useful for the world,” he adds.
Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? track list:
1. “Old Country Church”
2. “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?”
3. “Two Coats”
5. “Way of the Triune God”
6. “Angel Band”
8. “Heart You Been Tendin’”