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Tyler Childers 'stands his ground' in new song and video following love story of two gay men in Appalachia

A scene from Tyler Childers' new video, In Your Love.
Tyler Childers
A scene from Tyler Childers' new video, In Your Love.

Kentucky singer-songwriter Tyler Childers has announced a new album and shared its first single and video, which tells the story of two gay men working to forge a life in rural Appalachia in the 1950s. And the writer behind the video will also be familiar to Kentucky readers.

"In Your Love" traces the path of two miners who find love in each other's arms in a Kentucky holler, and was penned by Childers' friend, Kentucky author and poet laureate Silas House. House said Childers wanted to tell the story because of experiences his own family and friends have undergone, being part of the LGBT community.

"These are human stories, not political stories," the celebrated writer of Clay's Quilt told NPR.

The work, which foregrounds not only the relationship of the main characters but the Appalachian region, has been hailed by Rolling Stone as "the music video of compassion and caring we need right now."

"'Cause it's cold out there / And you know some men search for ages / For the love that I have found / So I will stand my ground," Childers sings in the chorus.

The song and video have drawn mixed responses online, with many praising it as "beautiful" and "healing" in its message, while other fans on Instagram and Twitter read the subject as a political statement and criticized the video as "woke."

Childers and his team did turn off the comments on the album art, Rustin' in the Rain, along with the teaser clips, according to country music site Whiskey Riff.

In an interview with NPR, Childers responds to the risk of putting out music that could run afoul of some fans' expectations.

"For all the ugliness that it's going to bring out that just can't be helped, this video is going to make real conversations possible," the songwriter says. "This is a story of two people sharing their love and living a life together and experiencing loss. That's pretty powerful. Once you take away the flash card phrases and like the knee-jerk reactions, how does that make you feel?"

Childers' new album is out September 8.

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Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.