LGBTQ advocates and musicians have paid tribute the new video for Tyler Childers’ song “In Your Love” as a much-needed portrait of inclusivity.
The song is the first from Childers’ upcoming album “Rustin’ in the Rain” (out September 8) and chronicles devotion to a loved one. The twist the video provides is that the love story is between two men who fall in love in 1950s rural Appalachia, face attacks from co-workers in a coal mine, and then move in together to tend a farm.
The video, starring Colton Haynes (“Teen Wolf,” “Arrow”) and James Scully (“You,” “Fire Island”) as the two coal miners, lands amid controversy over another new country music video, Jason Aldean’s “Try.” That in a small town.”
CMT pulled Aldean’s video after many criticized it and the song for extolling gun violence and lynching — and viewers noting that some scenes were shot at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where an 18-year-old black man named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927.
For subscribers:Six seconds removed from Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ video amid controversy
After the video for Childers’ song hit YouTube on Thursday, fellow musician Margo Price tweeted: “I hope people share it and lift up good songwriting, deep music and positive messages because we could use more of this right now.”
Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell offered his support, writing: “Go @TTChilders go – much respect.”
Out Magazine wrote, “Grab your tissues! Tyler Childers’ new music video for #InYourLove tells a beautiful story of gay love from the Appalachians.”
What did fans have to say about Tyler Childers’ ‘In Your Love’?
Online, many compared Childers’ video to the one from Aldean.
One reason Childers wanted to make this music video, he told NPR’s Ann Powers“was my cousin growing up, who is like my older brother, is gay.”
On Youtube, where “In Your Love” had been played more than 2.3 million times as of Sunday, there were more than 12,000 comments. One viewer wrote: “Seeing this song go viral right after ‘Try That In A Small Town’ feels good. It’s great to see left wing music listeners promoting a song to get their voices heard too.”
“I want to thank all the hateful ignorant ‘country fans’ screaming about this video as I had never heard this angelic voice before,” read another comment. “Thank you for helping me find this beautiful loving soul.”
But not everyone was supportive. On Facebookwhere the video has been viewed 1.8 million times, one commenter wrote, “Disappointed. This could have been a wonderful opportunity to show true love and commitment.”
“Tyler Childers just likes himself,” wrote another, referencing a consumer boycott of Bud Light after it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, “And it’s sad because he was my favorite.”
Tyler Childers had a personal reason for making the ‘In Your Love’ music video
Childers got some help with the video from friend and bestselling author Silas House (“Lark Ascending”), who wrote the treatment and served as creative director. The house and husband Jason Kyle Howard, a journalist and author — both are native Kentuckians, like Childers — came up with the story idea. The video was directed by Bryan Schlam, who has also directed videos for the Black Keys and James Bay.
By recording ‘In Your Love’ everyone knew ‘we were part of something special’
“Everyone on set seemed to know we were part of something special, but we had no idea the video would be even more relevant when it was released,” House told USA TODAY.
“One of our goals with this video was to represent the rural and Appalachian in a complex, dignified way, as they are not often shown that way in visual media,” said House, who is also the Kentucky Poet Laureate.
Family stories and images helped “create the most authentic love story we could … that could capture (the song’s) passion, beauty and emphasis on the power of an endless love,” House said.
“We also knew that many people would be seeing themselves for the first time in a country music video, and hearing from many of them has been deeply moving,” he said. “All their love for the video and the song far outweighs the hate that rises in response to it.”
In a press release for Childers’ album and video, House said, “As a gay teenager who loved country music, I could never have imagined seeing myself in a video. That visibility matters. There have always been LGBTQ people in the country and finally we see it portrayed in a country music video.”
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Childers expects some country music fans won’t appreciate the statement. “For all the ugliness that it’s going to bring up, and that just can’t be done, this video is going to make real conversations possible,” he told NPR. “This is a story about two people sharing their love and living a life together and experiencing loss. It’s quite powerful.”
Cast: Morgan Hines, USA TODAY, and Kirsten Fiscus, Marcus K. Dowling, The (Nashville) Tennessean