As an 8 year old, Tyler Hammond stood on his bed with a red inflatable Stratocaster, blaring George Strait’s “Pure Country” casette and singing at the top of his lungs. If his mom needed a flashlight during a power outage on a stormy Kansas evening, she knew Tyler had hijacked them and repurposed them as stage lights…
Country music has has always been in Tyler’s blood. His dad, Britt Hammond is a country music man that’s been performing since the mid 80s. Britt introduced his son to George Strait at a young age and like a lot of artists, that put the wheels in motion.
Tyler was born in Lawrence, Kansas. His parents divorced when he was three and after his mom remarried two years later to a local attorney, they moved to the farm town of St. John, Kansas. It was there where Tyler grew up. He would see his father out on the road, who was opening for Shenandoah during their heyday in the 90s. Tyler has memories of hanging out with the band and playing Sega Genesis on the Shenandoah tour bus.
Tyler recalls, “Marty Raybon came and sang at my dad’s wedding. He called me ‘Cat Daddy’. “
During his teenage years Tyler wrote a few lyrics here and there but never put it to music. At 16 it all changed when his mother, Dana, suddenly passed away due to an aortic aneurysm. Tyler grieved by writing lyrics, almost like poetry. A year later he moved to Aubrey, Texas to live with his dad and graduate from Aubrey High School. It was there he continued to write and learn guitar on his $100 Cort and befriended another blossoming Texas Country talent, Ryan Ready. The two would continue to keep in touch after graduation as Tyler headed back home and enrolled at Kansas State. It didn’t go so well.
“It was short lived. I was a fish out of water. Had a bunch of friends there I had grown up with and I just wasn’t ready for college. Turns out I was never ready.”
He continued to write and sing, but like all guitar noobs, he butchered his chord changes. After a night of seeing his buddy Ryan play a gig , Tyler realized it was time to get serious about guitar and to take his craft to the next level. A year later he started playing regular gigs in Dallas and one night at St. Pete’s Dancing Marlin, he met his future wife, Chelsey.
“She was the catalyst for a lot of things. She just lit a fire in me and said ‘If you’re going to do this, you need to just do it!'”
Soon they were engaged and headed for Nashville. While in Nashville, Chelsey would network for Tyler and was soon targeted by, ironically, a Texas producer Michael Blanton to be featured on a new TV show about Texas singer/songwriters called Troubadour, Texas.
“It was crazy, I went out to Nashville only to get drawn back to a Texas-centered TV show.”
You can see some of that feature here. Tyler played gigs in Nashville for about 6 months until, as Tyler colorfully explained, “Two pink lines showed up on a stick.” They were pregnant and needed to be close to family so they made the “executive decision” to move back to Texas. They got married and Tyler got a job at Guitar Center so he could perform at night. In October of 2011, their son Martin was born in front of the cameras of Troubadour, Texas.
After settling in, Tyler participated in various singer/songwriter contests where he could get a feel of where he sat among other talent. In 2010 he got to play a 45 minute set on the visitor’s stage at the Country Music Association Festival. He’s also had numerous callback additions for NBC’s “The Voice” though you haven’t seen him on TV…yet. During the 2014 Country Showdown, a nation-wide country talent search, Tyler won both the DFW and the state competition held at Billy Bob’s Texas. He ended up 2nd at the Southwest regionals, losing only the The Brothers Roberson who went on to win the entire competition.
Tyler just shrugged, “If you’re gonna go out you might as well lose to the champs!” Not bad sir.
Today he continues to play regular gigs across Dallas. It’s the challenge of balancing his job with family while working in time for his music. In particular he speaks with reverence about Martin, who is autistic, and flashes his wrist tattoo of a puzzle piece with his son’s initials in the middle.
“It presents its own set of challenges but his personality is so unique… it’s uniquely HIM… and that’s cool.”
You can see Tyler weekly at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas, Louisiana Street Grill in McKinney and Dodies in Coppell. When you see one of his shows you’ll hear original tunes and likely some covers from his influences: Gary Allan, Restless Heart, Shenandoah, and George Strait. He’ll also sprinkle in some Stoney Larue, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and other Red Dirt acts. Here are a few samples but for more go see Tyler’s Facebook page or his YouTube channel.
Out of My Door is one of my favorites. About giving a girl that’s done you wrong the boot.
All The Right Reasons has a good story to go with it.
February Rain, written for his mother Dana.