Dan Tyminski’s tribute CD to guitar master Tony Rice, unlike another recent Rice “tribute” CD that featured loud drums, electric guitar and other extraneous non-bluegrass influences, relishes the soulful vocals, brilliant guitar flatpicking, and sense of taste Rice brought to every project.
Here, Tyminski opens with the classic, “Church Street Blues,” showcasing Dan on guitar and vocals, with the brilliant Molly Tuttle putting her “float like a butterfly; sting like a she” right-hand fluidity and flatpicking power to full effect. Her solo spills out of the soundhole, elegant and floating. She’s not copying Rice in any way, but she’s clearly in his sphere of influence. Tuttle also joins Dan on harmony vocals, and with two such great singers how do you go wrong?
Next up, a true tribute song penned by Tyminski, where he brings in fellow Tony Rice diehards Josh Williams, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Todd Phillips. It must have been difficult for those musicians, good friends and frequent bandmates of Tony, to record this. But their joint love for the music they shared with Rice shines through here.
Dan’s duo with Billy Strings on “Soul of Man” may be the best version I’ve heard since Skaggs and Rice came out. Billy’s voice catches some of the same aching vocal qualities Skaggs brought to that project, and Dan sings the baritone with real passion and conviction. Billy’s guitar work is stellar here, crisp and powerful, always with a strong sense of melody and focused on great tone and emotion, not heavy metal grassjam licks. Dan’s mandolin is perfect, emulating the Skaggs solos with a crispy pick attack and great musical taste and restraint, appropriate for the subject matter. Dan also recreates Rice’s legendary version of “Ten Degrees and Getting Colder,” with spot-on guitar work with superb backing vocals from the Darrin and Brooke Aldridge.
Dan Tyminski has created a very nice project here, but be aware it’s definitely an EP-style project with only five songs. But the near-reverence and musical taste here infuses every track, and boy howdy do the players here truly love and respect musical legacy of Tony Rice. Well worth it.