A warm, roots exploration of what matters in life- family, relationships, your dog.
Saugeye has produced an enjoyable debut self-titled album that mixes country with folk and blues undertones using heartfelt lyrics about the importance of family, roots, and relationships. The band is named after the singer’s favourite fish (which is a hybrid mix of the Sauger and Walleye) which has greatly expanded my knowledge of fishing in researching Saugeye. The album was recorded in one day at Tulsa’s Black Box Studios only adding organ and backing vocals to the mix later. The eleven songs are a mix of originals by Tyler and songs by other musicians he has collaborated with or whose music inspires him has been released via Horton Records. Saugeye is a mix of musicians led by Jared Tyler from Tulsa who has gathered a group of individuals who are in other bands but have come together with Tyler to create an organic blend of roots music. The music is assured and confidently performed by Seth Lee Jones (Guitarist), Jake Lynn (Drummer), Casey Van Beek (Bass), and Isai Mireles (keys). The band has honed their sound through live performances together since 2017 with residencies at Tulsa’s Mercury Lounge and the Colony.
Tyler has released a number of solo albums since 2006 with his most recent ‘Dirt on Your Hands’ in 2017 the title track which is performed on this album. The song encapsulates the overall feeling of the music on the album as it is written about working in his Grandmother’s garden, collecting bait for fishing, and the importance of family. ‘She Believes’ is the single which was written a number of years prior to this album and captures the singer’s tribute to the women who have supported him throughout his life.
Tyler’s lyrics are sincere and the songs are presented simply with honesty and warmth towards the subjects of his songs. Whether this is his grandmother, a friend, or his dog (‘Keystone Lillie’) his heart on the sleeve singing lifts the music. The choice of covers is reflective of the mood of the album. Covering ‘Grandma’s Hands’ by Bill Withers and adding their own verse, the singalong ‘Gideon’s Bible’ by Brandon Jenkins, a friend of the band who died in 2018. Tyler’s work with Malcolm Holcombes is covered on the album with his own versions of ‘To the Homeland’ and ‘One leg at a time’ with the message of not losing sight of your roots and maintaining a grounded approach to life a message worth considering during these challenging times we are living through.