There was a documentary on heavy metal once, in which the singer Rob Zombie reasoned that “heavy metal was the biggest thing that no one had ever heard of”. He has a point, but as an Englishman who loves the honky tonk just as much as rock n roll, its tough to look past the idea that country might just pip it these days.

As an example, the other Friday I saw Kane Brown play a concert in the second city in England. Black Sabbath formed about five miles from where I m typing this, metal is in our blood. Yet, Brown played to a sold out crowd in its thousands and proclaimed that “when I come back to play big rooms, I’ll bring my full production.” Crikey.

I am here to tell you that Tyler Braden is the next sensation. The average person in the street might not know him (yet?) but that’s going to change. That’s the only conclusion after listening to “Neon Grave”.

The title track on this is an absolute copper bottomed classic. One of the songs of the year when they tally these things up. Southern rock in the vein of Whiskey Myers, its enough make you want to go and baptise yourself in the Lynchburg River, frankly. The thing must have healing properties.

Then there’s “Try Losing One”. To be accurate, there’s two versions of that on here. The original (tagged onto the end) has already hit number one, 70 million streams, all that and a bag of chips. There’s those who decry streaming figures, I get that, but 70 million Tyler Braden fans can’t be wrong, or something (with due apologies to Elvis).

The new version, a duet with  Sydney Sierota of Echosmith, is stunning. As a vehicle for their two magnificent voices, there’s none better.

And the other three songs are almost as much fun. Braden writes “Choose Me” solo (the others are co-writes) and my he can craft a pop song, there’s even something of Springsteen in the words to “Wrong Right Now” and its working class struggle , but dreaming to find the best of things. The music is 21st century country pop rock, but it’s chunky power chords set it apart.

“Middle Man” is beautiful. I am not a religious man in anyway, but the words of a son to the dad that’s no longer with him will surely tug at the heart-strings of anyone. When they play it live, Tyler Braden and his band will be speaking to anyone who’s lost a parent, never mind faith or a lack thereof.

And Braden is about to make his debut in the UK. Go and see him at C2C if you’re going. Get on board before he’s selling out everywhere. This is a cracker, it really is. It’s so obvious it almost shines in neon.

Rating 8.5/10

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