Posted on: June 7, 2024 Posted by: Kim Muncie Comments: 0

Danny Paisley’s “Till Lonesome Comes Around” will please both longtime country and bluegrass fans as well as casual listeners. The three-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year returns from a three-year health-related layoff with a stunning solo rendition of this Brink Brinkman and David Stewart-penned tune. His bluegrass chops have a transformative effect on the performance while likewise appealing to county music aficionados. I’m bowled over by the vast span of this single’s appeal.

The rural trappings of Paisley’s voice aren’t any obstacle to the song’s success. The Pennsylvania-born singer has a myriad of influences yet doesn’t self-consciously ape anyone in particular. You’ll hear echoes of George Jones, The Osbornes, Bill Monroe, and The Stanley Brothers running through his timbre and phrasing. However, he’s a distinctive, one-of-a-kind vocalist. He obviously learned a great deal from his father and longtime band leader, Bob Paisley, but you don’t win the IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year award three times basking in reflected glory. You build a legacy of your own.

Paisley vibrantly represents that legacy during “Till Lonesome Comes Around”. I’m particularly fond of several turns of phrase in the song’s lyrics that he brings to vivid life. Paisley is a charismatic singer who invests a great deal of emotion into his performances, and this is no exception. His interplay with the instrumental components of “Till Lonesome Comes Around” is especially potent. Paisley incorporates various stalwart elements of bluegrass into the song’s arrangement without risking cliché, and the ensuing fireworks as they play off his voice are alone worth the purchase price.

You never get the feeling that Paisley rushes the song. The running time of a little over three minutes long provides him and his Southern Grass bandmates ample time to stretch and flex their considerable chops. However, it’s never in the name of pseudo-virtuosic glory. The instrumental work is solidly within the bluegrass tradition and helps develop the song into a masterwork in miniature. The focal point remains the vocal harmonies and Paisley’s outstanding singing. He’s an attentive vocalist who listens closely to his accompaniment.

It makes for a more well-rounded musical experience. “Till Lonesome Comes Around” satisfied me with a single listen and continued delivering joy with later replays. It isn’t a disposable piece of bluegrass fluff nor cookie-cutter in its design. I hear immense artistry at work throughout the song’s entirety. It isn’t heavy-handed, far from it, and glows with the unmistakable light of joy. It’s the joy of life, creation, and making music with a talented and time-tested community of like-minded musicians.

It’s this sort of life-affirming energy that likely helped sustain Paisley through his recent health travails. This sort of life-affirming energy likewise informs and powers his continuing musical endeavors. Paisley and his bandmates in Southern Grass are on the road throughout 2024 appearing at a variety of festivals and assorted venues; “Till Lonesome Comes Around” will figure prominently in their set lists for these shows, and with good reason. It’s one of the year’s best bluegrass songs.

Kim Muncie

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