(DirtHeel Records) 

By Mike O’Cull www.mikeocull.com 

Los Angeles singer-songwriter Tyler Hutton continues his evolution and hits a grand slam along the way with his new album DirtHeel. Hutton followed his country music inspirations this time out and the result is a powerful record that deals in twang, grit, guitars, lyrics, and soul. Call it country, Southern Rock, or American roots music, if you like. It’s a killer set that is Hutton’s finest recorded hour to date as well as a heaping helping of organic, human-made music that cuts through the mountains of plastic, made-to-be-sold tripe that’s been saturating the world for far too long. Hutton brings it all back down to the turf and reminds us that nothing beats real musicians cranking out a project that’s authentic and meaningful to them. 

“All By Ourselves” starts the set with a solid roadhouse vibe that supports and defines Hutton’s concept perfectly. The track features an uptempo groove, tight guitar licks, and just enough pop-hook mojo to get it lodged in your ears for days at a time. Hutton is clearly at ease with this sound and setting and lets listeners know quickly what these sessions are all about. “Lovin’ Hate” is a song about resentment, romance, and domestic violence done in a classic 70s country style. Don’t let the mellow groove distract you from Hutton’s lyrics. It could almost pass for a Don Williams tune but Don never touched on topics like this. 

“Something To Hold On To” is an emotive rocker with an Allman Brothers’ bent to it that fits well with Tyler’s original pop/rock sensibility. The harmony guitar work is beautifully executed and the vocals are plaintive and entrancing. The song is a great example of the sense of expansiveness that’s crept into Hutton’s songwriting and he wears it well. Other tracks on the Don’t-Miss-List include “The Way Out,” “I Got Scars,” and the closing cut “Funeral.” DirtHeel is a high-water mark for Hutton and shows that he has the skill and creative vision to stand tall and get big. Listen once and you’ll understand.