Dan Tyminski - God Fearing Heathen
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God Fearing Heathen (8 Track Entertainment, 2023)

Dan Tyminski

Reviewed by Al Cunniff

No one can accuse Dan Tyminski of rushing product to market. "God Fearing Heathen" is the 14-time Grammy winner's first solo album in six years, and it's his first bluegrass album in 15 years. It's also his first-ever album of original bluegrass songs.

Tyminski, who has been a member of Alison Krauss & Union Station for nearly 30 years, earned international solo fame when he provided the vocal for George Clooney's performance of "Man of Constant Sorrow" in the 2000 film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Flash forward 23 years, and "God Fearing Heathen" includes a bluegrass version of his second international smash, "Hey Brother," a 2013 tune by Swedish DJ Avicii that Tyminski sang on which became a country-electronic hit in 15 countries. Tyminski's new bluegrass cut is a haunting uptempo minor key tune featuring great vocal harmony and terrific fiddle and Dobro solos.

Tyminski cowrote (except for "Hey Brother") and produced every song, which highlights the amazing talents of his Dan Tyminski Band members. Impeccable vocals and instrumental work are in evidence on every track.

The title track is one of the most effective tracks, a sparse production with just acoustic guitar and vocal. Heaven isn't just for straight walking saints, but also for "losers and the winners, and hard livin' sinners and God fearing heathens like me." "GOAT" is about a deaf, dumb and blind guitar prodigy who'll never have a stage or spotlight, but is "greatest picker the world would never know." The toe-tapper features blistering fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and banjo solos.

"Silence in the Brandy" is a heartrending story of how war can exist in someone's head long after the last bullets are fired. "Never Met a Stranger" is a love song for the road, an uptempo minor key song driven by banjo and fiddle solos. Strangers are "just friends that I am yet to meet." "Occam's Razor" and "Ode to Jimmy Martin" are highly enjoyable tracks with clever, quirky lyrics.

Tyminski may take his time between projects, but "God Fearing Heathen" proves that quality is worth the wait.

CDs by Dan Tyminski

God Fearing Heathen, 2023 Southern Gothic, 2017 Wheels, 2008

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