Interview

Tyler and the Tribe to Texas and Beyond: an Interview with Tyler Jones

Tyler and the Tribe press photo

Haling from East Texas, the boys from Tyler and the Tribe play their own version of Lone Star country. While staying rooted in that time-honored musical tradition, this young quartet isn’t afraid to pull in plenty of other influences - anything from rock and folk to pop and indie-alternative.  It’s that seamless blending of old and new that keeps their sound fresh and interesting. It’s the same sound that’s the hallmark of their critically acclaimed 2013 release Born, and it’s the one that drives their upbeat live performances.

Tyler and the Tribe is Tyler Jones (lead vocals, guitar), Heath Robinson (guitar), Colton Joe Smith (bass) and Jordan Owens (drums). “We all grew up in East Texas in the greater Sulphur Springs area,” Jones explained.

After a five-year stint in Dallas, Jones returned to his hometown. “I found a house back out where I grew up that was a real fixer upper. I’m still fixing it up, but I moved into it,” he laughed. “You gravitate towards musicians in the area. We met each other and we decided that we would start doing some dates, and that’s kind of how it all started.”

Tyler and the Tribe has shared the stage with some big names in country music. According to Jones, even the biggest fish in the country music pond have been nothing but welcoming and supportive. “We’ve been blessed to play some really big shows with some really big acts,” Jones noted.

 

“I’ve found most of the guys that have started from the bottom in one way or another, which is most of the musicians – even the guys that are on the biggest of the big level- most of those guys understand the grind that you’re in, and they are super nice. A lot of these horror stories about so-and-so being a jerk, they’re not true. It restores your faith in humanity a little,” he said.

While Jones is serious about his craft, he and the band like to have a good time. “My favorite band in the world is the Foo Fighters,” Jones explained. “I love Dave Grohl; I love his mentality from what I can see. When you’re playing music, I always feel like there is a time for business and there’s a time for seriousness, and there’s a time to have fun. Because if you’re doing anything professionally, and you’re doing it all the time, if you can’t have fun with it, then you’re going to get burned out.”

Although Tyler and the Tribe is fundamentally a country band, Jones doesn’t limit himself to any one genre when it comes to his songs. “I grew up in the era of All-American Rejects, and even though it was a little before my time, I was a huge Nirvana fan. Those pop-rock bands like All-American Rejects and Simple Plan, I grew up listening to a lot of that,” Jones recalled. “You hear those types of happy melodies and those repetitive phrases in our music. I don’t want you to feel like you heard the same 12 songs when you listen to our album.”

The band’s fans are more than happy to follow them down that path. “It’s part of my generation and the generation that’s coming up out of high school to be open to a lot of different things in society. I think we’re seeing that in a lot of politics and social issues and it pours over into the music, too,” Jones observed. “It’s helpful to us because we’re so diverse, so it’s cool that they can like one song, and we can play a different vibe, and they can still like that one.”

 

Jones is looking forward to returning to the studio with the band to start work on a new album. “I’m really excited about it. This album is really exciting for me because I feel like I’m going back to why I started this thing,” he commented. “It’s going to be all about the music. It’s not going to be about how high it can get on the regional charts.” For more information on Tyler and the Tribe, including upcoming shows, visit their website.

-With permission from Red Dirt Nation