Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy
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Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy

Reading, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019 | SELF

Reading, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2019
Band Country Southern Rock




"Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy: Stare Your Demons Down"

The debut full length album from Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy is titled with a lyric from the opening banger ‘One to the Heart’:

…if you find yourself on the wrong end of love,

Wrong end of a pistol, no guidance above

Just take a deep breath, there’ll be no time to cry

Stare your demons down and kiss your ass goodbye…

‘One to the Heart’ is a rip-roaring ode to stepping up and making things happen, consequences be damned. Featuring the backing of a horn section that sneaks up during the chorus and brings it home, this song is the ear-opener that gets your attention and demands to be heard.

Cody’s rich baritone permeates each of the ten tracks on this album, but for all of its strength, it is the least personal of his investments on display. Each of the songs’ lyrics by Cody, (except for ‘One to the Heart’, co-written with friends Billy Sayle and Travis Lamoreaux) are based in his personal experiences. When I asked him for confirmation, Cody quoted a songwriter you may have heard of, saying “…all ten of them are autobiographical to a degree, some more than others. Others have been spun into somewhat tall tales, all “for the sake of the song” (Townes Van Zandt).

Family, Country, and Backwoods’ Pennsylvania ‘Shine (or Bourbon… or Beer) are recurring themes across ­Stare Your Demons Down. From the cover art to references to coal and moonshine, it is apparent in every song, but none more so than the tracks ‘Drop That Needle (Grandad’s Vinyl),’ ‘Eagle Tattoo,’ and ‘Still That Never Goes Dry.’

Cody told me he was raised on the blues and southern rock, and that The Allman Brothers Band is his all-time personal favorite, but

“…what really got me into country was my grandfather’s record collection. He passed away years before I was born, so as I was rummaging through my grandmother’s attic looking for my mom’s old classic rock records, I stumbled on my grandfather’s country records. He had a ton of Willie Nelson. Some Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., but the one that really hooked me was Waylon & Willie and Willie’s “Stardust.” Those albums and that story inspired “Drop That Needle”.”

In ‘Drop That Needle’ Cody pays homage to both his Grandfather and those Greats, singing about how he was and continues to be inspired, as well as motivated, by his Grandad’s love of country music. ‘Eagle Tattoo’ is so personal, it feels almost voyeuristic to listen to: a man saluting the military service of his grandfather, uncle, and brother, with symbol both visible and indelible of his pride, as well as a prayer breathed to God for the safety of our Service Members around the world.

My favorite of the Family-themed tunes is ‘Still That Never Goes Dry.’ Listening carefully, one can hear the story of the interplay of Cody’s relationship with his two Muses: his lovely wife, Sammy, and his Music. They each in turn feed him and pull him away from the other. The basis of the song is most beautifully illustrated in the band’s video for ‘Still That Never Goes Dry,’ just released May 6, and composed of video and photos shot during Cody and Sammy’s 2021 wedding.

I also asked Cody about the band name “Gypsy Convoy,” as it’s a lyric in ‘Still.’ I wondered about the so-called “chicken or the egg.” He said that

“It was more a metaphor for the airplane I was flying on when I wrote the song. In a way, a plane is a convoy, a collection of free spirits or “gypsies” traveling to different places for a plethora of different reasons. My reason was to get home from L.A. to see my lady. But the name of the band originally was derived from me combining “Gypsy” from Jimi Hendrix and Willie Nelson coining the term “band of gypsies,” and the term “convoy” as a nod to truck drivers. My dad is a third generation over-the-road truck driver so I guess you could say the hunger for the road runs in the family.”

Cody is mindful of those generations of the countryside and history that brings each of us to this particular moment and shepherds us all to where we’re meant to be. This is especially evident in ‘Fate I Can’t Outrun,’ an upbeat rambling song that has all the instrumental hallmarks of what many of us consider an updated but traditional country music song.

On an already phenomenal album, there’s more Black Dirt Country to mine: ‘Playin’ With Firewater’ and ‘Ramble in the Hills’ are both songs about the finding the treasures of the backwoods, be they peace and quiet, a coal miner’s daughter, or the fruits of a moonshine still. ‘Cut the Bull’ has a juke-joint bluesy and rockabilly vibe that’s sure to be a crowd favorite. The album wraps up with ‘Fold Me Up, Haul Me Home.’ This song comes in slow and easy, riding on a sludgy guitar and will get arms (and beers) waving in the air and fans singing along at the end of a show.

I had the chance to meet Cody at the legendary White Elephant Saloon in Ft. Worth, Texas, a few years ago. He came in from his home state of Pennsylvania to play a song swap at a pre-party the day before Cody Jinks’ (another influence and personal favorite of Cody Tyler) Loud & Heavy festival. We didn’t get to talk, but he was humble, kind and grateful for the opportunity to play. His humility extends beyond his own talent and he was quick to hype the band when I asked him about writing and playing. “All three of them have helped with parts on this album, especially bridges and transitions. I’ll write a song and have the bare bones of the melody, verses, and chorus started. Then there are small intricate things that my bandmates will suggest that really put the song over the top. The guys who play with me are very talented and well-educated. Our drummer, Ken, is a Berklee College of music graduate and a jazz drummer by trade. He helped arrange the horns on “One to the Heart” and wrote the bridge in “Blessed Life.” Our bassist, Kenny, has also helped on numerous songs and his contributions are too numerous to count!”

Congratulations to Cody and the band for all their hard work culminating in a superb debut release. It is a ‘Blessed Life,’ indeed. “Stare Your Demons Down” is scheduled for release on Friday, May 13, and will be available in both hardcopy on the website and all digital platforms. - The Amp

"Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy gets to the roots of country music with ‘Stare Your Demons Down’"

Everything changed for Cody Tyler that day in his early teens when he descended the steps leading to his grandmother’s basement in search of his mom’s old albums.

He was on the hunt for Southern rock records by the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the music he had been raised on, but instead stumbled upon a collection of old country albums — Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard — that belonged to his grandfather, who died before Cody was born.

“That just totally shifted my world view away from more of the pop country I was listening to at the time, along with the Southern rock and the blues,” the 27-year-old singer-songwriter from Shillington said. “It turned me toward this rootsy country sound that the outlaws developed in the 1970s, and to this day, after listening to all those records, I hold that Merle Haggard is probably the greatest to ever do this thing, as far as country music is concerned.

“It opened my eyes to the old country (music), and there’s a lot of new country out there that’s being made that sounds like that stuff, and that’s what we are trying to do. We’re kind of trying to be a part of that movement.”

Talent and dreams

The “we” he is alluding to is Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy, a four-piece traditional country band that’s releasing its debut album, “Stare Your Demons Down,” on Friday, and celebrating it with a CD release show Saturday at 7 p.m. at Bellevue Plaza Hall, Muhlenberg Township.

Tyler comes with credentials and has big aspirations.

He made it into the Top 150 vocalists from among thousands on Season 14 of NBC’s “The Voice,” and was runner-up in the Tumbleweed Country Music Festival’s 2019 Rising Star Talent Search, which featured over 300 acts from the U.S. and Canada. He also was nominated for best male vocalist and best country artist for the 2020 Central Pennsylvania Music Awards, and best country band for the 2021 Central Pennsylvania Music Awards.

With his genuine, down-home approach, and no shortage of talent on guitar and vocals, Tyler aspires to put Pennsylvania on the map as far as country music goes.

“We want to emerge as one of the top country acts in Pennsylvania,” he said, “because Pennsylvania, in the middle, is country, and we’re trying to break that mindset of people thinking country music can only come from the South or the West. There is country up here in the Rust Belt, and we want to make that statement with this album, that we’re here, we’re from PA, and we can play just as good as Kentucky, Texas and Tennessee guys.”

Honest-to-goodness country

The album, which was mastered by Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer Pete Lyman in Nashville, is full of songs about love and money, god and country, guns and glory, ramblers and gamblers.

Tyler comes by this music honestly. An outdoorsman at heart, he walks the walk when it comes to his lyrics. They are reflective of his own life. He’s been known to break out paper and pen hiding out in a tree stand while out in the woods. He grew up hunting with his dad, who wanted to hand down that family tradition from his own father.

Family resonates as a theme throughout the album in songs like “Eagle Tattoo” and “Drop That Needle (Grandad’s Vinyl),” which starts out with the scratch of a needle touching vinyl.

He wrote “Eagle Tattoo” for his kid brother, Ryan Youse, who at 18 joined the military, just as their grandfather and great-uncle had.

“I got a tattoo of an eagle with dogtags with their names on it years ago,” Tyler said, “and I wrote that song as a letter to my brother while he was in basic training, hoping the day would never come when he would be on my arm, in my eagle tattoo. And luckily enough he’s avoided that. He’s alive and well. He’s serving in Korea right now.”

“Drop That Needle” recalls a grandfather who died too young.

“That’s dealing with that demon of somebody who could’ve been a huge influence on your life being gone,” he said, “but in a way he’s still an influence on me because we stumbled upon his record collection, which is what led me to country music in the first place.”

As the album title suggests, the 10 tracks deal with the demons he — and we — confront every day.

“There are some other songs on there dealing with struggling with alcohol, struggling with depression,” Tyler said. “‘Blessed Life,’ I wrote it before COVID, but it could very well be about somebody who’s struggling with keeping their life on track during COVID.”

Meeting of the minds

The band has already released two singles — “Fate I Can’t Outrun” and “Playin’ With Firewater” — and the third and final single, the acoustic “Still That Never Goes Dry,” will be released Friday.

“Playin’ With Firewater” is a burner that bassist Kenny “Play” Peffley helped Tyler flesh out back when the two were playing in a cover band together. Peffley then encouraged Tyler to keep going.

“I saw Cody and I thought, ‘Whatever we gotta do, I’m going to make this work with him,'” Peffley said.

Together they would woodshed some of the other original songs Tyler had in his back pocket, adding bass parts and enhancing the melodies.

Tyler credits Peffley and his steely resolve with getting him to focus on original music.

“Kenny is a fantastic bass player,” Tyler said, “and he’s the driving force behind keeping us all motivated and going on an upward trajectory and growing.”

Peffley also was instrumental in bringing Ken Mettam, a Berklee College of Music-trained drummer, onboard, as well as Lenny Casper, whose keyboards round out the sound.

In the band’s formative days, they would gather in Mettam’s garage in Palo Alto, Schuylkill County, to write some of the songs that would end up on this album.

“We were writing them over the heat of a coal-burning stove in the middle of winter,” Tyler said, “so if it sounds like it came out of the mountains, that’s probably why.”

Tyler said he’s been playing guitar and singing since he was a kid, but only started playing out at the encouragement of a college girlfriend, and even then saw it merely as a side hustle while he pursued his teaching degree.

“Then Gregg Allman died,” he said, “and that was like the catalyst that made me go, ‘OK, life is short, you enjoy doing this, you enjoy writing songs, people seem to like the songs, why not try to make this your full-blown career?’ So ever since that day that Gregg Allman passed, that’s kind of been my goal.”

An old soul

An old soul and proud of it, Tyler is unfazed by being the youngest member, by far, in the group.

“I have been called an old soul since I was in the eighth grade,” he said. “My eighth-grade history teacher, who inspired me to want to teach social studies, wrote in my year book that I was an old soul, and that was the first time I ever heard that. I asked my mom what that was, and she goes, ‘It’s exactly what you are.'”

“And I am actually a young soul, believe it or not,” Peffley noted, “so that matches up really good.”

Tyler feels blessed to have so much experience backing him.

“They’ve been around,” he said of his bandmates. “They know what they’re doing. Once you get past the idea they look so much older than you, forget that, just close your eyes and listen to the music. Age is just a number. If it works, it works, and with these three guys and me together, it works.”

Peffley recently overcame a health scare that had him down and out for a few months, but he’s back now and the band has a busy summer lined up, with gigs in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York, but they hope to eventually take their show on the road across the country.

“That’s our end goal,” Tyler said, “to be a touring act.” - Reading Eagle

"Music Monday: Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy"

They've been described as battle-tested musicians that have earned their stripes sweating it out in bars and honky tonks across the state for decades.

WFMZ's Eve Russo welcomed Cody Tyler and Kenny Peffley from Cody Tyler and Gypsy Convoy for Music Monday. - WFMZ-69


Stare Your Demons Down (2022)
Sound Room Sessions (Live Acoustic) - EP (2018)
Playin’ With Firewater (Acoustic) - EP (2018)



Outside of the industrial ruins of early 20th century boom towns where steel mills and coal mines thrived, and the rails were king, Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy are forging their own path through the foothills of Appalachia. With a long history that dates back to the colonial era, Cody Tyler’s family has hunted the hard timbers, tilled the fields, worked in the mines, and sweated in the steel mills of Pennsylvania for generations. Cody’s father, a third-generation trucker, inspired Cody’s love of country music and hunger for the open road from a young age. You might even say it was bred into him. At just 25 years old, his musical journey has barely begun, but his yearning to travel the open road on a song has already taken him all over the United States as a solo artist. Now is the time to get Gypsy Convoy rolling, too.

Cody and the Convoy may be from above the Mason-Dixon line, but they have forged a country and honky tonk sound of their own that tips its hat to the blue collar men and women of the Keystone State’s Appalachian heartland. Gypsy Convoy, are a collection of battle-tested musicians that have collectively earned their stripes sweating it out in bars and honky tonks across the state for decades.

In 2020, the Central Pennsylvania Music Hall of Fame nominated Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy for two Central Pennsylvania Music Awards for Best Male Vocalist and Best Country Act. Cody was also a Top 150 vocalist for Season 14 of NBC’s The Voice, reaching the executive producer callback auditions in Los Angeles. In 2019, the band were the runner-up in the Tumbleweed Country Music Festival Rising Star Talent Search, which featured over 300 country music artists from the United States and Canada. The band was also a Top-3 finalist at the 2018 I-105 WIOV Showdown in the Park.

Currently, Cody Tyler & Gypsy Convoy are hard at work on their first EP which encompasses the sound Cody describes as "Black Dirt Country." Because the band is from Pennsylvania where the fertile farmland tilled by the Amish for centuries meets the rocky soil of the Appalachians, the dirt there is far from red. Cody opines that the sound of the band "ain't much different, either." All five tracks have a fresh sound and even added verses that breathe new life and emotion with the help of the band.

Band Members