Michael Shynes – Cold Day in Hell
Minnesota based singer/songwriter Michael Shynes put in a lot of relentless time working at his chosen art before ever committing himself to recording and, since his debut, has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most complete performers working in modern music today. His preferred mode for performance is clear – “Cold Day in Hell”, his latest single, has a distinctly retro rock influence, particularly with the subtle addition of organ at key points, and is largely carried by a mix of acoustic and electric guitar. The production chores are carried out with all of the skill one can hope for and it gives the performance a high gloss polish that, nevertheless, never dampens its spirit. Despite the suggestive humor of the song, springing in most part from its title, there’s a real sense of moving on in this song that will resonate with any adult listener who has endured a break up or separation.
The lyrics and vocal are the critical parts of the track. Shynes’ writing has a muscular focus that dispenses with sideshows in favor of expressing himself clearly, yet thoughtfully, and makes subtle use of some common tropes to this sort of song without ever seeming heavy handed. His vocal raises the stakes several pegs and makes this lyric come across as conversational poetry of a sort while seeming like, the entire time, that this is a near spontaneous utterance of his feelings about a broken relationship. The contrast between the strong language of the song and Shynes’ warm, inviting voice is striking. More striking, however, is how it all comes together with the musical arrangement in a seamless and highly natural fashion. Undoubtedly, this song is the product of a lot of hard work and experience, but Shynes makes it sound like the song is being cut live in the studio and it sparkles with a freshness that suggests the track was written minutes before the band ventured into the studio to commit it to a recording.
The guitars and rhythm section breeze through the mid-tempo pace with cool confidence and never misstep. This commitment to pushing things along is handled just the right way; there’s never any sense of the musicians attempting to push the issue The chorus is where everything pays off in the biggest possible way, but it’s worth noticing that, despite how much it raises the intensity, it never overreaches or seems out of place with the other parts of their performance. “Cold Day in Hell” will win over countless new fans to Michael Shynes’ musical voyage and remind those already onboard that this fantastic performer and writer is someone they should stick with in the months and years to come. It’s only going to get better from here and his talents are considerable enough that there’s no real way of judging just how far he can go.
PHOTO BY Mike Theines