Photo courtesy of Tyler Farr
A sneak peek into the life of a gifted songwriter and singing sensation, whose small town roots, pure country attitude and passion for the outdoors is driving fans across the world redneck crazy
When you grow up in a small town in central Missouri, it’s extremely difficult to be anything but true-blue country and southern proud. At an early age, simple things like hunting, fishing and down home family values directly influenced Tyler Farr’s life and ultimately his decision to chase down a honky-tonk dream. Farr’s dirt road and tailgate demeanor, coupled with a unique, backwoods, raspy voice, and heart-felt lyrics are about as country as cornbread. Here’s an inside look at the passionate hunter who is behind the packed arenas, screaming crowds and chart-topping hits.
Hunting and early
From the beginning, Farr’s small town upbringing, strong family ties and personal outdoors experiences helped shape him into who he is today. “I was born and raised in a little farming community about an hour away from Kansas City,” Farr said. “At the time, there were only about 800 people living in the town, and we didn’t even have a stop light. It may sound like a boring place to live, but hunting, fishing and just being outdoors kept me entertained and perfectly content.”
Farr was first introduced to hunting by his father and grandfather, and it created fond memories and a strong bond between the three. “I still remember going on those Missouri youth deer hunts and how excited I got the night before the season opener,” Farr said. “Back then, it was tradition to meet at church for breakfast before the hunt. I loved the camaraderie and listening to all the hunting stories from the older hunters. Without question, sharing time in the woods with my family helped build character and taught me important life lessons a young boy would have a hard time learning anywhere else.”
Farr was completely addicted to hunting and the outdoors at a very early age. “All I can say is it was just in my blood. I considered pursuing a career in wildlife management or becoming a game warden,” he said. “I knew from the get-go that a stuffy office job was not for me, and I needed to do something that kept me in the woods or on the water.”
Breaking into the music industry
Consequently, fate stepped in and changed those early career plans when Farr’s grandfather gave him his first guitar. As a result, music rapidly became another true passion for the young boy. After he joined the middle school choir and completed a solo performance at a Christmas show, Farr’s mother immediately recognized his talent and signed him up for classical voice lessons. Around that time, Farr’s mother married DeWayne Phillips, who played lead guitar for the legendary George Jones.
“I started going on the road with my stepfather and George Jones, which took my passion for music to a whole new level,” Farr explained. “One night, I was standing on the side of the stage and Mr. Jones played Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes in front of a packed house. Pictures of Hank Williams Sr., Lefty Frizzell, Elvis Presley and Vern Gosdin were shown on the large screen behind the band. It absolutely gave me chill bumps, and I knew right then what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
By his senior year in high school, Farr had received several vocal scholarship offers and accepted one at Missouri State University. By this time, music had become more significant to Farr due to the passing of his grandfather. “The last thing I remember my grandfather saying to me is to keep on singing,” Farr remembered, “because he knew that was what I was supposed to do in life. Those words stuck with me and, before long, I found myself skipping class to write songs and play music. Eventually, I decided to go for broke and move to Nashville to chase my dream.”
Farr basically had nothing but country grit and down home determination when he pulled into Music City. He took a job working the door at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. He flipped burgers, helped clean up, played the guitar, sang and did some landscaping work on the side to make ends meet. Over time, Farr’s persistence earned him his own show four nights a week at Tootsie’s. Everything came together when Rhett Akins listened to one of Farr’s early CDs and gave him his big break.
The NWTF and turkey hunting
Undoubtedly, it was a rush for Farr to watch his monster hits like Redneck Crazy and Whiskey In My Water race up the charts. “Seeing fans react to your music is something special for any performer,” Farr said. “The only thing that even comes close to replicating that feeling for me is watching a fired-up longbeard put on a show during a warm spring morning. I’m passionate about hunting whitetails and other game animals, but nothing gets me going more than working a swelled-up gobbler who’s in a talkative mood. All it really took was one turkey hunting trip with my buddy back in Missouri to start an addiction I don’t want to ever get over!”
During the spring, Farr eats, sleeps and breathes turkey hunting. “This is exactly why I’m a proud member of the NWTF. What this organization has done for wild turkeys, habitat improvement and promoting both conservation and hunting is nothing short of amazing. It blows my mind that regardless of where I’m touring, there is a good chance huntable populations of turkeys are within a short drive. We basically went from small, isolated pockets of birds to widespread, healthy flocks popping up across the entire country in a very short period. If you like to hunt and respect the outdoors, become a member and get involved with this great organization today.” — Travis Faulkner