If you’re a singer-songwriter, it’s difficult to imagine having a father-in-law more intimidating than Bob Dylan. But Peter Himmelman hasn’t let his marriage to Dylan’s daughter stop him from making music. Over three decades as a journeyman, Himmelman has recorded 18 albums, including five for kids, and scored soundtracks for film and television shows such as “Bones.” And if Dylan’s relationship to Judaism is ambiguous at best, Himmelman identifies himself as “the first highly recognized Observant Jew since Sandy Koufax.”
Like his father-in-law, Himmelman is a Minnesota native with a penchant for Americana. On his latest record, “The Mystery and the Hum,” Himmelman plays a middle-aged mix of rock, folk, blues, and country music that you might hear at a bar in Middle America — or at New York’s City Winery, where he celebrated the album’s release November 14. Backed by guitars, bass, piano, and drums, his raspy voice recalls the growl of Tom Waits, the plaintiveness of Cat Stevens, and the twang of John Hiatt. While his songs are packed with pain, there are also glimpses of joy. Taken as a whole, “The Mystery and the Hum” comes across as a dialogue between melancholy and hope.