Of course, none of that really matters if the music is good, right? Well, here's the tricky thing. For anyone who's heard Tyminski's previous work, you're probably going to think "what the f*&%?!?", and that's understandable. I was taken aback myself upon the first listen. But you know, the more I listen to this, the more I realize that I'm not against the thought of Dan fusing bluegrass music with borderline EDM or Pop. That is until realize that the only part of this that could even remotely be considered Bluegrass are the lyrics, and think about what that means... In other words, no, this isn't another version of High Valley that I likely would have welcome greatly.
In fact, the production pulls more from what you would have heard from a slicker bro-country song just a few years ago. The chorus is terrible with the slick drum beats and Tyminski's awful processed vocals. Gee, it's almost as if this song is a terrible fit for him as an artist!
Lyrically, well, here's where it gets even more confusing. The entire song is a homage to his roots and growing up with music all around him. Sure, it takes the approach of small town, "my years before I turned twenty were so awesome" approach, but it approach it from a unique perspective, and that I can appreciate.
But wait, if what you're singing about is growing up learning how to play Bluegrass, why the hell is the sound about as far removed from what you grew up on as it could possibly be? Again, all I can think of is High Valley and how they'd likely at least approach this song with some more organic instrumentation such as dobro and banjo (and actually make it work!). Aside from a compelling (even if he sounds awful) performance and an honest take on the subject, I can't find much else good to say about this, and that's a damn shame. I don't blame Tyminski for wanting to try something new. I just hate how much he sounds like he's trying to go for a sound that's not him at all.
Listen: "Southern Gothic"
Author: Zackary Kephart