If you’ve been tuned in to some of Nashville’s most popular solo artists to debut over the last few years, then you’ve likely crossed paths with Dustin Ransom without knowing it. The multi-instrumentalist has toured and played with plenty of notable faces — from Ben Rector and Andrew Belle to Dave Barnes and Emily West. It’s a much longer list, but suffice it to say, Ransom’s earned his keep and honed his skills enough to finally step out on his own in the form of a new EP, Thread on Fire.
Ransom’s keen to show off from the outset on “No One’s Gonna Love Me (Like The Way You Do).” The gospel sway and jazzy spin on this mid-tempo opener makes for an interesting introduction, and Ransom’s falsetto takes care of the rest. Ransom is a spirited storyteller on “Our American Way,” a track that continues the soulful vibe of the opener.
Thread of Fire‘s heart comes in the center with “The Way We Say Goodbye,” a sparse acoustic number where Ransom sings, “All my wars inside/ Give up, slowly satisfied/ This is not the way we say goodbye.” If Ransom had led with a track like this, he’d likely be lumped in with Nashville’s countless acoustic artists, but since he’s already classed up the joint, it’s nice he waited until now to show his softer side. It’s a beautiful track, to be sure.
Ransom claims Michael Jackson as an influence and the feel is clearly heard on “Dig,” which features great brass work from Tyler Summers and Jon-Paul Frappier. The title track closes the five-song set with a lonely acoustic refrain and shows Ransom is more like a versatile musician. He sings, “There was a time when you saw me, honey/ Hanging by a thread on fire/ I never said I didn’t need you/ But what good is love with a bad desire?”
If taken as a whole, Thread on Fire could be frustrating for the lack of bridges between tourist stops. If taken as an introduction, however, Dustin Ransom’s debut shows that he can go in just about any direction and succeed, armed with a greater repertoire than most artists he’s helped along the way.