Tyler McAninch’s new release The Glue That Held Us Together is a forthright, storyteller rock album about overcoming fears, processing hurt, loss, and realizing what matters most in life.
The 10 track album is easy to listen to as it appeals to the heartache we all experience in our lifetime. It reminds me a bit of Tom Petty and has some bluesy vibes and a touch of country-rock characteristics as well. Its lyrics are somehow both comforting and invigorating, despite its heavy content.
The album was recorded at The Library Recording Studio in NE Minneapolis with the help of owner Matt Patrick, who has worked with many Minneapolis artists including Annie Mack and Jeremy Messersmith. It tells of Tyler McAninch’s personal stories and long-time ponderings.
The album starts off strong with “Hold On To You”. Its bold guitar and punchy drumbeat accentuate the vocals belting out a story. The guitar continues the chorus in a nice sing-along. The combination of nostalgia and regret mixed with hope certainly has an alluring pull.
It’s quite the feat to release an album after what Tyler has been through. After suffering a head injury as a youth and missing its importance at the time, he spent a couple of years living in the Twin Cities. He loved the city and all its offerings of sounds, people, and architecture. After growing up in a small town his whole life, he felt at home in the city.
That is until the migraines and double vision started interfering. Knowing he couldn’t run away from them any longer, he got his head checked out. It became imperative for him to step back and heal. He reluctantly decided to move back home, though excited by the silver lining to see the friends he grew up with. Detailed in “Small Midwestern Towns”, he sings his reality poetically.
Time has a way of slipping away and as people grow older, they get busy. His friends and family were focused on other things. Optimism continued to fade as his mother faced a cancer diagnosis.
After she passed, the hurt and hope both increased and crumbled with his youngest brother’s fight with addiction.
“Lilacs” is such a soul-wrenching must listen. The way the vocals belt out the small details of life one has no control over, like the changing of seasons of icy winter to rainy spring to the big things, like missing loved ones. I feel how the song yearns for a different outcome with the what-ifs. The feeling of loss is so helpless and deep-cutting. But the lyrics say “and I’ve been doing okay with this” as the guitar continues to strum for the rest of the verse. It caught my interest. Is McAninch in denial or is he really okay after it all? Are any of us more than okay?
See, the guitar strums and the drums continue on without the vocals pulling it together and making it shine for a couple of beats. The title of the album specifies the glue that “held” us together. The chorus jumps in and the beat goes on. And in life with all of its physical aches and its heartache, each day the sun comes up again, signaling a new day. Perhaps, there becomes a new glue to bind it all together again.
Tyler soon moved back to the Minneapolis metro, where he felt alive and at home. Feeling that rush of excitement, Tyler tried to live a normal-ish life. Life had kept knocking him down a bit and he got up again and again. Then another blow came in the form of his own cancer diagnosis.
His friends and family urged him to finish this album before he faced surgery to remove the cancer. He knew he had to do it now. He had to power through and finish what he started.
It’s admirable when someone fights through the pain and focuses on their passions. It takes great strength to see introspectively, to recognize the support and community around oneself, and then to carry out the work of putting it into songs.
Every album is a gift of musical art to the world that sometimes seems devoid of meaning. Let this one be your hope and strength for a moment, through it all.