Michael Shynes has blazed a trail through gigs across the Midwest building a reputation as one of the most promising singer/songwriters working today and a truly transformative vocal talent. Transformative, in this use, means he is uniquely capable of inhabiting songs with the presence that a great actor brings to a role while seeming natural all the while. This is coupled with substantive musical skills, especially an ear that seems supernaturally attuned to following every nuance present in a musical arrangement. His latest single “Cold Day in Hell” is a memorable song that’s equal parts a depiction of deep emotions as well as a slightly smirking, darkly comedic take on weighty themes.
His songwriting shows a discernment often lacking in such obviously commercial acts and there’s never any sense that he’s pandering for listener’s attention. “Cold Day in Hell” has drama and an understated, wry sense of humor working alongside of one another but, while this isn’t a blues, it definitely adopts the idea that shrugging or chuckling to keep from crying and memorably runs with it.
His voice leads the charge. He has the sort of pipes blessed with the timeless ability to raise the bar for the overall song by virtue of his voice alone. It comes through in more than just his tone – the lodestar for making it work lies in his evocative phrasing. It’s a dramatic reading of the song’s lyrics that brings the track’s narrative, such as it is, to vivid life.
Michael Shynes Shines on “Cold Day In Hell”
Moreover, he knows when to attack words and when to retreat – this crucial distinction brings an added layer of dynamics to the performance that’s fully complementary to the musical backing as well. These seemingly disparate strands are brought together with the sort of confidence we expect from performers who have worked long at their chosen craft; the years of solitary practice, listening to music, and paring away the fat from his art have given this young performer the necessary weightiness to infuse a track like this with meaning and substance.
The musical backing on “Cold Day in Hell” is especially strong. It measures up to his vocal contributions thanks to a layered arrangement and the production’s warm, yet muscular, sound. The instrumental performances benefit from excellent separation, yet demonstrate an unity of sound that brings off the song in an impressively full fashion.
You can hear how the rich musical performance inspires Shynes and he positions his voice marvelously against the recording – in particular, the interplay between Shynes’ singing and the organ work will resonate greatly with listeners. “Cold Day in Hell” is a track with broad-based appeal and musical imagination to burn. Michael Shynes’ vocal owns the song in a deeply felt and stylish way. This is thoughtful pop rock fueled by a tremendous amount of heart and immense skill.