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Dan Tyminski

Southern Gothic – 2017 (Mercury Nashville)

Reviewed by Fred Frawley

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CDs by Dan Tyminski

Dan Tyminski, known in this collection only as "Tyminski," tackles mainstream country music or what passes for it these days on "Southern Gothic." Tyminski seems an unlikely candidate for the world of FGL or Dan + Shay, but his new collection of songs has a lot to offer.

Tyminski has an unassailable background as a player of bluegrass and mountain music, but "Southern Gothic" shows influence from the time he has spent in the world of EDM (electro-dance music). The melding of the two styles maintains strong traditional features whilst layering on beats and aural textures.

The title cut takes a public domain Dobro sample, drops in a drum bottom, and then Tyminski's vocals kick in. He's making the case for a new admixture of genres, warranting a serious listen. The overall effect is dark and foreboding, an apt reflection of the rough desperation of maintaining the veneer of Southern identity while the world changes.

Tyminski doesn't adopt the traditional line in this sphere: "Hollow Hallelujah" and "Breathing Fire" take on religious bipolarity. `

"Gone," which closes the album, is a now-standard anthemic country plaint about losing someone; the vocals are highly processed, and the EDM backbeat and interlude show that these elements make sense to ears accustomed to the genres. "Temporary Love" is another example: a solid digital back beat accompanied by a rolling country-style lyrics. Whether this amalgam will find an audience is another question.

Tyminski, who has been a stalwart of Allison Kraus' Band, Union Station, and played in the Lonesome River Band in his earlier first name, surname, iteration has bravely written some really fine songs, some in collaboration with Jesse Frasure ("Perfect Poison") and one with the estimable Ashley Monroe ('The Devil Is Downtown"). The tone is dim and a bit foreboding, and things are generally not quite right in the world of "Southern Gothic." (Dan) Tyminski is not going quietly into the night, whether good or bad.