Pittsburgh artist Tim Vitullo responded to a protracted, expensive period of studio doldrums by stripping down and freeing up his sound, resulting in an album called Running out of Time.
At heart, Running out of Time is a road record. Over the course of its runtime, Vitullo repeatedly finds himself in the car, his radio (tuned to an omnipresent 80’s roots rock station, I’d guess) blasting through the open driver’s side window as he speeds both toward and away from people, places, and memories. The album begins with “Monongahela Valley,” a soaring plea for escape from “a city hell bent a divorce,” where “even rain can’t stand it for too long” before rumbling on to greener pastures. Vitullo’s guitar work here is truly impressive, as he introduces the song with an acoustic flourish before launching into a freewheeling electric riff that would make Jim James smile. The song doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the Americana wheel, just keep it rolling towards big skies and better days.