My story, as told in my own words. If you’re looking for my official bio, click here.
Howdy! It’s me, Tyler.
Thanks for swinging by— I really appreciate you taking the time to check out my page and learn more about me and my work.
Now, as you may know, I hail from Alaska.
Specifically Juneau, the state capital, a teeming metropolis by Alaskan standards (population 30,000). Like most Alaskan towns, it’s located smack dab out in the middle of the wilderness; there’s no roads in or out. As they say in southeast Alaska, there’s only three ways to get there: boat, plane, or birth canal.
I feel very lucky to have grown up in Juneau. The city is world-renowned for its arts & culture, and its home to an amazing community of folk musicians. I spent my teens watching and learning from immensely talented bands like Bearfoot and the Great Alaska Bluegrass Band, and when I was finally old enough, I got my start performing at the infamous Alaskan Hotel & Bar.
But Alaska wasn’t big enough for me.
After a few years of cutting my teeth at the Alaskan, punctuated by annual sets at the Alaska Folk Festival and the Southeast Alaska State Fair, I was ready for more. I wanted to explore the world outside Alaska. I wanted to rock! Not folk around in Juneau.
So I hit the road, setting out on a journey that I’m still on to this day.
I’ve spent the past decade drifting across the country, seeking my fame and fortune, playing solo and with various bands, working on my craft as a songwriter, teaching guitar, and honing my chops on the old-school folk & blues music that I specialize in these days.
Over the years, I’ve played all kinds of music in all kinds of places: pubs, clubs, dive bars, coffeeshops, house shows, street corners, weddings, music festivals, cruise ships— you name it, I’ve played it.
After leaving Alaska I drifted south to Wisconsin where I fronted a blues-rock band and recorded a couple of albums. We called ourselves the Tyler Preston Trio, and we were actually nominated Best New Artist by the Madison Area Music Association in 2013. Not too shabby for a brand new band. But it didn’t last… creative differences and all that.
So, rather than stick around Wisco waiting for nothing to happen, I quit my corporate job (the first and last “real” job I ever had) and bought a one-way ticket to Nashville where I worked as a busker, performing on the street for tips.
Busking the streets of Nashville is where I truly learned how to perform.
Working as a street musician is not for the faint of heart—especially in Nashville—but I loved it.
It’s a romantic way to make a living… playing beneath the neon lights of the honky tonks to crowds of tourists drinking their way up and down Main Street… flirting with the southern belles in their cowgirl boots as they sashay by… finding a twenty-dollar bill in your tip jar… getting impromptu invitations to perform for birthdays and bachelorette parties… tagging along with other buskers on drunken escapades… occasionally going home with a pretty girl on your arm…
I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
But I didn’t go to Nashville just to busk— I went there to start a band.
Over the years, Music City has become an important place for rock musicians as well as country artists, and I wanted to start an indie rock band and get away from my blues roots. I figured Nashville would be a good place to recruit willing talent. And I was right. Before long, I had assembled a new group: the New City Savages.
However, as it turns out, being in a band in Nashville is tough. There’s not a lot of gigs to go around and the competition is fierce. Bands come and go in the blink of an eye, and before I could blink mine, the Savages were over.
In the span of six months the group came together, wrote and recorded an EP, played a promising string of shows, and promptly broke up.
In the end I left Nashville with two of my songs recorded: ‘Heat Of The Night’ and ‘Hard Times In The City’ and not much else to show for it. I decided I was done with bands for the time being and I went back to Madison to lick my wounds.
Once back in Madison, I started a business teaching guitar. Things went smoothly for about six months, I had about twenty students on my roster, but by December of 2015 I started getting the itch to return to performing.
I decided to try my hand at performing on a cruise ship and accepted a contract with Princess Cruises… and where did they send me? Back to Alaska.
Ah, the irony. Anywhere in the world I might’ve gone and they sent me back to the Last Frontier.
Of course, I wasn’t disappointed. I’d been missing Alaska for a while, and it was good to get home for a little while. So good in fact, that I decided to stay for the winter.
At the end of the summer, rather than take another contract, I elected to remain in Juneau to record Close To The Line, which I released this past March.
Following the album release I spent the summer on the road in New England, visiting family and touring a small circuit through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts with occasional forays to Cape Cod to busk, and I currently find myself holed up for the winter at my mom’s place in Ontario, planning my next adventure. No word yet on what that may entail…
All I can say is that acoustic or electric, solo or with a band, blues, country, folk, rock, or otherwise… I live to perform.
And I intend to keep on doing that—playing guitar and singing and teaching and traveling and bringing a little bit of joyful sound into the world—for as long as I can.
Thanks for reading. Hope to see you at a show soon,
Here’s my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to write— I always love to hear from friends and fans. Cheers!