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Tim O'Brien Band
The Old Steeple
Ferndale, CA
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Tim O'Brien Band
Grammy  award winning singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tim OBrien  grew up singing in church and in school, and started playing the guitar  at age twelve. After seeing Doc Watson on TV, he became a lifelong  devotee of old time and bluegrass music.

Where the River Meets the Road is his sixteenth solo release. Each of  the 12 tracks on the album is connected to his home state of West  Virginia. Two originals, Guardian Angel and the title track Where the  River Meets the Road, tell deeply personal stories of OBriens family  - the death of his older sister when he was a toddler, and the tale of  his great grandfather moving to his hometown of Wheeling in the 1850s.  The remaining ten songs were collected and compiled after more than a  decade collaborating with the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Inducted  into the Hall of Fame himself in 2013, his work with the organization  helped connect him with the sheer width and breadth of music born of  West Virginias native sons and daughters.

As a teenager OBrien began a self-described walkabout, because  like most West Virginians, he felt he must leave the economically  forbidding environment of his homeland. For a while he made his living  playing folk gigs in Chicago and across the country, eventually landing  in Colorado. There he helped found the seminal, progressive Bluegrass  band Hot Rize. Their work through the 80s and 90s garnered great  critical acclaim and eventually brought him to Nashville. His diverse  musical career blossomed with the birth of solo albums, multiple  chart-topping songs covered by the likes of Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks,  and Garth Brooks, and collaborations with artists such as Darrell Scott,  Steve Earle, Steve Martin, and more recently Jerry Douglas the Earls  of Leicester.

OBrien admits that the scope of these successes would not have been  possible if he had remained in his home state. This journey to find work  and carve his own path not only mirrors the experience of his own great  grandfather, but also the West Virginian experience as a whole. Each  song, artist, and songwriter referenced on the album tells a version of  this journey. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bill Withers Grandmas  Hands is a rare African American nostalgia piece that reminisces about  growing up in the coalfields and the importance of his grandmothers  influence. When the Mist Clears Away written by Larry Groce, host of  West Virginia Public Radios iconic, decades-old live show, Mountain  Stage, conjures the beauty of the states hazy mountains and the  undying, hopeful resilience of its pioneering residents. Hit country  songwriter Billy Edd Wheelers piece High Flying Bird - once covered  by Jefferson Airplane - describes the mortal grip of the mines and deep  roots that prevent the freedom even little birds have, but we do not. As  a whole, Where the River Meets the Road simultaneously tells the story  of music born of the classic struggle of West Virginia and the story of  what brought OBrien to make this very record.

The pure human relatability of the album is expertly conveyed by its  stellar lineup of musicians. Fellow West Virginia Music Hall of Famer,  Kathy Mattea sings harmonies on two tracks and country musics current  hero of authenticity and grit, Chris Stapleton, contributes his  trademark fiery vocals as well. Never failing to assemble an exceptional  backing band, OBrien calls on friends new and old for musical support,  notably Noam Pikelny on banjo, Bryan Sutton on acoustic guitar, Stuart  Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, and Chris Scruggs on steel and electric  guitar. His sister Mollie OBrien and his partner Jan Fabricius join on  background vocals, adding familial continuity from the stories to the  recordings as well. OBrien himself opted for fiddle, guitar, and  bouzouki, forsaking his primary instrument mandolin to take more of a  background, foundational role in the instrumentation, allowing the  story, songs, and lyrics to shine.

Written by Justin Hiltner


The Old Steeple (View)
246 Berding Street
Ferndale, CA 95536
United States


Music > All Ages
Music > Bluegrass

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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