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Tyler Bryant: "My plan is to build up the Shakedown and start a revolution"

A chance meeting in a music shop as an 11-year-old sealed Tyler Bryant‘s fate – now a shit-hot guitarist with his own band, he shares stages with some of rock’s biggest names

Every town below the Mason-Dixon line has a Roosevelt Twitty. He’s the kind of old dude you find in music shops or bars, or maybe out on the street, playing the blues like Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson. In another life he might have been as famous as those guys, but in this one the world passed him by a long time ago. Still, as long as he has a guitar and life in his fingers, all those missed opportunities don’t mean a thing.

Tyler Bryant met Roosevelt Twitty a decade and a half ago in a guitar shop in Paris, Texas. Bryant’s parents had bought young Tyler, an 11-year-old obsessed with Elvis, a pawn shop acoustic guitar that needed stringing.

“Sitting in a corner of the guitar shop was this old black gentleman, playing a Lightnin’ Hopkins-style blues song,” Bryant remembers. “I was immediately moved by it. I’d never heard anything like it. So I sat down and listened. He said: ‘Do you like the blues?’ I said: ‘I don’t know what the blues is.’ He said: ‘I’ll teach you.’”

Roosevelt Twitty did just that, shaping and moulding this skinny kid. Bryant learned the blues from Roosevelt Twitty, but he picked up so much more too: dedication, decency, hard work. Fifteen years on, those lessons are starting to pay off.

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