When we spoke with Dan Tyminski back in February, he mentioned that he was hoping that his new CD, Wheels, would be released in May of this year. A few weeks back, Rounder indicated that it would be out on June 17, and their web site now shows a release date of June 24.
I had a chance to listen to the CD over the weekend, and expect that pretty much everyone who is anticipating this new recording will find something right up their alley when they pop it in the player. There is some in-your-face bluegrass, a number of AKUS-esque ballads, a couple of patented Tyminski bluesy/pentatonic songs and one kickin’ instrumental.
A few will be familiar to bluegrass fans: Kitty Wells’ Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On, Del McCoury’s Who Showed Who and Ron Block’s It All Comes Down To You. A number of new songs come from within the band: Adam Steffey’s fiery Knock Knock! and Ron Stewart’s clever brush-off, I Ain’t Taking You Back No More.
How Many Times is a great new bluegrass song that Dan wrote, with a feel similar to the Osborne Brothers (and BAB) classic, One Tear. The title track is a contemporary bluegrass song from Patrick McDougal, sounding quite a bit like ones Dan has cut with AKUS, and Heads You Win Tails I Lose (Craig Market/Darren Shoemaker) hearkens back to some of his bluesy tracks during his time with Lonesome River Band.
The audio quality is first rate, and the vocals are superb throughout. Dan handles all the leads and much of the harmony, with guest vocalists Vince Gill, Ron Block and the White sisters joining in.
The picking is dynamite as well. Ron Stewart has few peers in the bluegrass world, and is in fine form here. Adam Steffey is likewise among the most celebrated mandolinists in this music, proving it once again on this CD. Fiddle and resonator guitar man Justin Moses may not yet be a household name in bluegrass circles, but that is soon to change, based on his playing here and what he does with the band on stage.
In one of the most glaring oversights in the history of the IBMA Awards, monster bass player Barry Bales has never been pegged for an award, and as expected, his playing on Wheels is wonderfully tasteful – creative yet always appropriate. For me, at least two tracks on the CD owe much of their interest to his talent for implying a different chord in the bass from what the rest of the rhythm section is playing.
Dan may not be known primarily as a guitarist, but his rhythm here is always strong, and he handles both the grass and the crosspicked rhythm with ease.
There are no audio samples up yet on the Rounder site, but you can see the complete track listing. Let’s hope this project isn’t delayed any further!