Guitar prodigy Tyler Bryant recalls experiences with Jeff Beck

For a musician that is only 21 years old, Tyler Bryant has already lived a life that some musicians could only dream of. The young musician has been hailed as a guitar virtuoso and has been fortunate enough to share the concert stage with the likes of Jeff Beck, Aerosmith and B.B. King. Listening to the music from this Texas native, it is arguably easy to see why Bryant and his band The Shakedown are, well, shaking down the walls around the blues genre.   

Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown will be performing next Thursday night at the Tide & Boar Gastropub in Downtown Moncton. The show starts at 9:00 p.m. 

Despite calling the Deep South of the United States home, his show next Thursday night will be Bryant’s second appearance in Metro Moncton since last October when he found himself opening for guitar legend Jeff Beck on his Canadian tour. Touring with Beck was a dream come true, the energetic yet humble Bryant says from down the phone line in Edmonton prior to a recent show. 

“Jeff Beck has been my favorite guitarist my whole life,” Bryant says. “Having the opportunity to share the stage with him was such an unreal experience.”

Asked what specifically attracted him to Beck, Bryant says that he is one musician whom he feels has consistently been willing to take chances and colour outside of the lines, so to speak. 

“I always liked Beck because his work always seemed to be a little more out of the box compared to many other guitarists. Though his music is undoubtedly rooted in the blues, he was always very innovative and willing to push the limits of what he was playing.”    

Though some might argue that Bryant is simply too young to fully understand blues as a genre, it doesn’t mean that the music has not had a profound effect on his life. When Bryant was 11 years old, he walked into a music store in Paris, Texas and heard Roosevelt Twitty. His life and destiny were instantly transformed, setting him on the path to where he is a full decade later. Not to say that he didn’t hit the odd detour over the past decade, however: 

“Growing up, I listened to everything from punk music to more rootsy music in high school,” he shares. “And then I heard The Black Crowes and Tom Petty who I felt owed some of their sound to the blues. 

“The truth is though, I never stuck with just listening to one thing and I think that is one reason why Jeff Beck appealed to me so much. He was constantly doing something different with each record. When it came time to start my own band, I felt that if we wanted to make all we could out of a career in music, I had to seek out guys that were driven like me and with whom I could share figuring out where to take the blues next.” 

Although Bryant is currently in the midst of a run of shows across Canada and the United States, their tour dates are serving as a break of sorts from he and The Shakedown making their new record. Tyler says that they hope to have their new record released this coming June or July via Carved Records out of the United States. 

Bryant and his band have been holed up in the studio with Dennis Herring whose work with Buddy Guy and Mutemath inspired Bryant and his band mates to seek him out as a producer. 

“My band mate Caleb and I felt like Dennis would be the right guy to work with on our new record,” Bryant says. “One of the great things about working with Dennis is that he is willing to push us to want to do our very best. He wants to make a great record as badly as we do. 

“Ultimately though, we do not want to be a copy of someone else and Dennis has been pushing us to not just be a blues band and not just be a rock band. I’d love to think that if someone my age gets into my music and I can in turn introduce them to the music that inspired me, it will be a great thing.”

Article published in March 30, 2012 edition of The Times & Transcript