Longtime Alison Krauss sideman Dan Tyminski is as faithful an exponent of bluegrass as anyone performing today. True, his native state is Vermont, but the sorrow and resolve embodied in his singing comes straight from the hills and hollers of Appalachia. Tyminski's first solo album in eight years is a bittersweet sort of work, capturing the fatalism inherent in bluegrass traditions. The songs are filled with quietly exquisite imagery, propelled by rippling melodies and sharp-edged ensemble playing. “How Long is This Train” and the title tune are especially evocative of the lonesome spaces within the American heartland. “Whose Shoulder Will You Cry On,” “It All Comes Down to You,” and “The One You Lean On” are meditations on love’s disappointments, while “Who Showed Who” and “Some Early Morning” are brooding murder ballads. Tyminski’s piercing highs and keening held notes leave no emotional distance between the artist and the song, and Vince Gill and Cheryl and Sharon White add heart-tugging harmonies at key moments. Wheels is pure bluegrass pleasure, with no pop dilution. Tyminski reaffirms his authenticity — and his excellence — throughout this release.

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