Tyler Braden’s brand-new EP, Neon Grave, is a collection of songs that showcases his ability to intertwine his rock influences with his classic country sound while treading on the effects of grief, new perspectives, and love.
Since the beginning of his career, Braden has looked up to artists like the Foo Fighters, Eric Church, HARDY, and Luke Combs, not only for their impressive musical talent but also their ability to break down the barriers of the genre. Since the start of his career, Braden has strived to do the same as he celebrates the invigorating product that comes from blending the energy of rock and the tradition of country.
“They’re just people that do what they want to do and prove to new artists that you can go the direction you want to go and be who you want to be as an artist. You don’t always have to follow certain trends,” he told Country Now. “Rock has always influenced my music. I mean, my first bands were rock cover bands and since day one, if you come to a live show, it’s more of a rock show than it is a country show, for sure. But those genre lines are always skewed and blurred, you know, vague, but we just wanna get out there and put on a good show and put on an experience more than just consecutive songs. That just always ended up going the rock direction for us.”
These rock influences can clearly be heard throughout the six-track project, which was produced by Randy Montana and offers a look into the next chapter Braden is approaching with his music career.
“I thought an EP is a good middle ground, a good medium step, to give people. The fans always want more music, so when we’re able to do a collection of work and show the direction I’m moving in as an artist and the direction I’m moving in as a songwriter…I love to do as many songs as possible, but it’s good to kind of find that middle ground, I think, and take the right size step.”
Choosing to release an EP was a conscious effort to put forth a batch of new music while also making sure to let his popular single, “Try Losing One,” continue to have its shining moment on the radio. Neon Grave includes both the original version of his heartbreaking tune and the powerhouse duet version that he re-recorded with Sydney Sierota of Echosmith.
“We left ‘Try Losing One’ in it just because we’re still pushing the single at radio and we still want people to hear it and for it to reach new audiences. With the direction we’re going, kind of that rock influence, I feel like it can take it to just newer audience members, just as part of the EP,” Braden shared.
“We also included the duet version I did with Sydney Sierota. I mean, that was a great experience in itself. She showed interest in wanting to take a step toward the country space and we have the same management. So I was lucky enough to kind of have the insider information on that,” he continued, gushing about the duet. “She was the perfect voice to come in. She did so great with her kind of varying melody there in the second verse, and she’s so talented.”
With its ability to hold many alternative meanings, the song acts as an outlet for people who have suffered a loss in some way, whether that be from a breakup, or in the real sense of a person who has passed. This fan-favorite from his debut What Do They Know EP has already seen great success. It hit No. 1 on SiriusXM The Highway’s Hot 30 Countdown and continues to climb the charts at country radio.
“It means so much to me in that what it’s been doing is, as I have people come up to me relating to it in so many different ways, you know, I say kind of facetiously that it was written in the shallower meaning of losing someone, but to see people relate to it in so many different ways and connect to it so closely if they’ve lost someone in their life, it’s been amazing,” he admitted. “To see people care so much about a song has been phenomenal, and to hear people singing it and to get emotional at shows, I mean it’s just been beautiful to see.”
The title track to Neon Grave was written by Tyler Braden alongside Shane Minor and Justin Ebach and holds the heaviest rock effect of all the songs. Through the honest melody of the electric guitars conquers the slightly morbid tune that has Braden finding peace in choosing a dive bar full of country music for an eternal resting place.
“We wrote the song back in 2020, so we’ve had it around a while and just wanted it to be the right timing. With this album, we’re trying to go kind of that more rock direction with the upbeat stuff and we had this idea a couple years ago of ‘Neon Grave.’ We sat down, me and Shane Minor and Justin Ebach, with like, ‘what does that mean? What can ‘Neon Grave’ mean?’ And we’re like, ‘if you can’t go to heaven, then you might as well be able to go to a good dive bar and listen to country music.’”
Braden continued, “Just the meaning of the song and that swampy rock feeling of it just kind of helped it fit in so perfectly and being the title track made sense. Like I said, it showed overall as a step in the direction we’re going as just as an artist and as a live show, and just all around.”
In addition to both versions of “Try Losing One” and the title track, the project also features several unreleased songs including “Middle Man,” “Wrong Right Now,” and “Choose Me,” which acts as the only solo write in the collection.
“Songs like ‘Choose Me’ and ‘Middle Man’ are, to me, very emotional songs in their different ways. I think all the songs on the album have their own emotional value and that they’re relatable in your day-to-day life,” Braden said as he explained the selection process for this particular project. “‘Middle Man,’ being the most obvious emotional song there, is just about losing someone and being unsure whether or not you could still talk to ’em or whether you can update ’em on your life the way you would when they were here. ‘Choose Me,’ everyone should take that time to appreciate their partner and being like, ‘I just wanna thank you for sticking around,’ kind of thing.”
“‘Wrong Right Now,’ it’s relatable and it’s all emotional value in that a lot of people can relate to and understand that sometimes work gets in the way and it’s hard to have that personal time and a relationship,” he added. “Those two songs, ‘Wong Right Now’ and ‘Choose Me’ being able to be upbeat and happy in a relatable subject, I think they just all kind of meshed well together.”
Throughout the entirety of his latest EP, Neon Grave, Braden is speaking to the ones above as he tackles the depths of his emotions through stories that are relatable to the listener. He proves that he’s not afraid to explore the pain that comes with the experience of losing someone close. At the same time, the singer/songwriter delivers an uplifting perspective on celebrating the best moments in life that come in between the difficult times and showcases the self-assurance that comes with feeling chosen by the one you love and learning to put each other first.
The Alabama native has gotten the chance to bring a few of these new songs to the stage already, but now that it’s finally out into the world, fans will soon get to hear the whole collection live.
Tyler Braden recently wrapped up his last weekend on the road on the road for Mitchell Tenpenny’s This Is The Heavy Tour. Beginning June 15 in Syracuse, NY, he will serve as support on several dates of Luke Bryan’s Country On tour.
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