14-time Grammy winner gets intimate at The Ruin
Bluegrass performer is voice behind beloved song from O Brother
You might not know his name, but chances are you know Dan Tyminski’s voice.
The 14-time Grammy winner, member of Alison Krauss & Union Station, and the voice you see George Clooney lip-sync to on “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” in the Coen Brothers’ movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? will be in town Saturday, Dec. 3, at The Ruin with local bluegrass outfit The Dead Pickers Society opening.
“Dan’s music is such a big influence for all of us,” said David Hess of Dead Pickers Society. “His energy and power have always been inspiring. In the past few weeks, we’ve also discovered each of us have very different and some unique connections and paths to his music. We are just so honored to be kicking off the show.”
Despite the awards Tyminski has earned along the way, the man whose roots are solidly in bluegrass likes the opportunity to play in a self-professed dive bar.
“It’s a way to hear the songs in a way that you wouldn’t get to hear them otherwise, in a full-band setting or the bigger shows,” he said. “Yeah, you lose some of the intimacy of what you can have in the smaller venues.”
One songs overshadows the rest
After being on tour the majority of the year with his Dan Tyminski Band, which includes Gaven Largent on dobro, Maddie Denton on fiddle, Jason Davis on banjo, Grace Davis on bass, and Harry Clark on mandolin, the show at The Ruin will feature just himself and Largent.
“It was difficult to get everyone together in December,” Tyminski said in an interview with Whatzup.
Instead, Tyminski and Largent are heading out on an 11-date tour that begins in Kent, Ohio, on Dec. 1 and ends in Floyd, Virginia, on Dec. 11.
“It gives me a chance to showcase some of the music I don’t get to play with the band,” Tyminski said. “Gaven and I will do bunch of stuff from probably all the different projects that I have out, which is rare for me. We’ll get to lean on some (2017 album) Southern Gothic stuff and some of the (Planetarium) Sessions record, just stuff I don’t get to play day to day.”
There will be some rarities, but you know “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” will appear, since it did lead to two of his 14 Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2002.
“In my career, there is one song that has definitely overshadowed all the rest,” he said of the song written by Dick Burnett in 1913. “To be involved with the O Brother, Where Art Thou? movie and the affiliation with George Clooney, the Coen Brothers, (producer) T Bone Burnett, and you can go on and on. Yeah, ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ has been one of the songs that if you’re lucky enough to have one like that in your career, you better be ready to play that song a lot.”
Surrounded by talent
Alison Krauss & Union Station shared the Grammy for Album of the Year on the O Brother soundtrack. That same year, Tyminski’s role in the band helped him snag Best Bluegrass Album for New Favorite and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “The Lucky One” off that album.
“You want to put yourself in a position where you’re surrounded by greatness,” Tyminski said. “That has probably been my most fortunate circumstance in my career, that I have been surrounded by some of the best of the best in music, with Alison and Union Station, and the people I’ve been able to play and record music with.
“You wanna win more awards and do more stuff like that? Play with better musicians.”
Tyminski joined Alison Krauss & Union Station in 1992. His first Grammy came in 1997 for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the song “High Lonesome Sound,” with the band sharing the award with Vince Gill, Barry Bales, and Ron Block.
Promoting upcoming album
While the bulk of his awards have come thanks to collaborations, he also won Best Bluegrass Album for his solo venture Wheels in 2009. Tyminski has released three solo albums beginning with 2000’s Carry Me Across the Mountain, with another slated for early 2023.
“To be in (Union Station), there was never a demand that we spent our time solely in that direction,” he said. “We all had the freedom to experiment and do the things we wanted to do. For me, I found a couple points in my career where we had enough time for me to put out a couple records. I’ve never really sought a solo career, which is why I haven’t really done solo record after solo record, but when I felt the need, I would put out some music.”
Ahead of his upcoming album, Tyminski has had plenty of songs to chose from, including many from his latest EP, One More Time Before You Go, a tribute to Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Tony Rice, who died Dec. 25, 2020.
“I’ve played probably half of this (upcoming) record to let some of it out (at live shows), but I’ve kept about half of the record under wraps, so there’s some new music to lean on next year,” Tyminski said.
Playing whatever he wants
Bluegrass will undoubtedly be the bulk of the show at The Ruin, but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear some other genres sprinkled in.
“I’ve been able to play a lot of different music through my career that is definitely outside the box of what I would say my mainstay is, which is bluegrass,” he said. “If you come hear me with the Dan Tyminski Band, you’re going to get what you would absolutely call bluegrass music, there would be no way to deny what it was. When we’re talking about the solo shows, it’s hard to put a finger on what kind of music it is. The Southern Gothic record, there’s no record bin it fits in. It’s gospely, it’s country, it’s poppy, it’s swampy. It’s got a bunch of weird elements to it.”
And playing whatever he wants is why Tyminski says he got into the industry.
“The big break for me was when I decided I was going to move away from my town and my security, and take a chance playing music,” he said. “To win awards and all the accolades that came along, that never really had any bearing on my feeling of success. When I realized I was paying my bills and keeping my lights on and the bill collectors stopped calling, that’s when I felt I had achieved success. I was actually supporting my family by playing music.”