Artist: Jared Tyler
Album: Dirt on Your Hands
Label: Blue Alleluia Music
Release Date: 06.02.2017
Tyler’s name has long been familiar, principally as Malcolm Holcombe’s dobro and mandolin sideman, a position he’s held since 1999. Tyler’s also worked with Emmylou, Merle Haggard, Jimmy LaFave, and fellow Okie John Moreland, among others. This is Tyler’s third solo project in the singer-songwriter role and it’s co-produced with famed Nashville bassist Dave Roe, who is joined by a stellar cast of players and guests. They include fellow singer-songwriters John Fullbright , Holcombe and with guitarist Kenny Vaughan, and harmonicist Jellyroll Johnson, among others.
Among the dozen songs, two are covers of Holcombe songs (“Dressed in White” and “The Door”), one from friend Dixie Mitchell (“Waltzing Around With My Shadow”), four originals and five co-writes. The opener, “Death of Me” was encouraged by dear friend and luthier, the late aforementioned Mitchell. This song and the closer, “Love of You,” are deeply personal and written for his life partner, Jacob Mehlhouse. Tyler says, “The songs I write or interpret are dear to my heart telling the stories of my life experiences. My hope in sharing these songs is that they would strike a chord in others that have gone through similar experiences or have felt the same way—somehow making them feel a little better… unique perspective on life, and I think my music can cross genres and speak to people on all walks of life.”
Although Tyler plays mostly guitar here, not the array of stringed instruments he’s accustomed to as a sideman, he purposely selected certain instruments that were made by his friend Mitchell, the luthier. She was world-renowned for making acoustic instruments under her company name, Guitar Company of America. Due to their superior tone, Tyler wanted to feature as many instruments of hers as he could on the album. He used her handmade guitars on four songs and mandolin on two.
There’s an eclectic array of styles here with album full of solid, interesting songs, and masterful picking. I continue to be amazed by the quality of music coming from Oklahoma by artists Fulbright, Parham, Moreland and others. Put Tyler right in there with them.