About heelers

Rooted in the high-art traditions of post-grunge and garage rock, Heelers is the project of Arizona-based musician and songwriter Tyrus Watson. Since 2016 Heelers has pushed the garage sound towards a decidedly emo aesthetic, taking cues from the likes of Manchester Orchestra, Third Eye Blind, and Jimmy Eat World. Between collaborations with folk artists Tanner Bingaman and PD Ronstadt, Heelers closed out 2023 with a very arty and self-important rendition of Foo Fighters' Aurora.

A barn in Pennsylvania, a beach house in Connecticut, a garage in Arizona, a basement in Utah, and back to the Tucson desert where he will inevitably be crushed by the heat. In each, Watson has jammed out chords on a downtuned classical guitar, recorded to his phone, to sketch out new songs as Heelers.

2016’s Heelers features some of his earliest songwriting, with a raw desert vibe and guitar landscapes crafted by lifelong friend John Hollister. 2017’s Songs We Wish We Wrote is a collection of covers that takes five of Tyrus’ favorite childhood radio staples in a new direction, with more experimentation in texture and arrangement than the versions he and his mom listened to in the family van. 2020’s The Basement Series saw the release of twelve tracks over the course of a year, spanning a wider range of styles, lyrical themes, and recording approaches than previous releases. Written and recorded after moving to Utah, Basement is also the first release to feature tracks performed completely by Watson. Late 2020 EP Don 3:16 proved to be another left turn for Heelers, putting down the electric guitars to pick up acoustics, building ethereal textures by throwing voices and instruments through effects pedals, and crafting songs focused on the troubles of 2020. Collaborators Nikki Keister-Hornig (violin), Jack Chappen (guitar) and Doug Foley (songwriting) ensure this is not a simple acoustic release. 2021 saw three solo-effort singles - Ruston, Going Home, and Blue Skies, with 2022's Shapeshifting and 2023's Aurora returning to a collaborative approach with other guitarists. More to come in 2024.