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Tim O’Brien Band | The Burying Ground
November 22 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm PST$32
After many years navigating the outskirts of bluegrass and acoustic music, Tim O’Brien’s dusky, unmistakable vocal timbre and instrumental stylings have this time landed with two feet squarely back in bluegrass.
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia on March 16, 1954, Grammy winning singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tim O’Brien grew up singing in church and school, and after seeing Doc Watson on TV, became a lifelong devotee of old time and bluegrass music. Tim first toured nationally in the 1980’s with Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize. Kathy Mattea scored a country hit with his song Walk The Way The Wind Blows in 1986, and soon more artists like Nickel Creek and Garth Brooks covered his songs. Over the years, Tim has released 15 solo CDs, as well as collaborations with his sister Mollie O’Brien, songwriter Darrell Scott, and noted old time musician Dirk Powell. He’s performed or recorded with Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler, Bill Frisell, and Steve Martin, and produced records for Yonder Mountain String Band, Kathy Mattea, and Canada’s Old Man Luedecke.
His latest release ‘Tim O’Brien Band’ is the coming together of a group of musicians perfectly aligned in intention and ability. Purposefully hack, the title is a nod to the nuts and bolts of trad bluegrass, and the singular energy a band such as this can conjure. Well known instrumentalists Mike Bub (bass), Shad Cobb (fiddle) and Patrick Sauber (banjo/guitar) bring the same team effort to the studio that O’Brien fans know from recent live performances, forging Tim’s song choice and delivery into something fluid and breathing. ‘This crew has the potential to make ten more records together and never reach the limit of the possibilities’. Particularly noteworthy are the harmony vocals of Jan Fabricius. ‘We’ve sung together informally since she became my partner seven years ago, and she’s always had a real natural way with the harmony, kinda pasting her sound onto mine’. Her distinctly folky voice is serendipitously matched with Tim’s, and consonant with his arrival at the bluegrass world from the side of a folk musician.
Tim O’Brien Band is also a return to where it all started for Tim – as a guitarist. As audiences can attest, Tim’s elastic yet menacingly groovy guitar playing is as pivotal to his sound as his mandolin playing. ‘Something about lead singer and guitar player makes so much sense’ says Tim. With his 1937 Martin OO-18, Tim O’Brien Band marks a return to the place that Jimmy Martin, Lester Flatt and Carter Stanley held at the helm of their bands. Tim’s mandolin and fiddle cravings are satisfied on select tracks, through occasional overdubbing, and with the help of special guest guitarist and Hot Rize cohort Bryan Sutton on two numbers.
Tim O’Brien Band is a return to bluegrass, but also a continuation of the Crooked Road that Tim sings about on the final track. It’s new, but familiar in the same way that we have watched his career wind from port to port. ‘I walk a crooked road, it leads me to tomorrow / through all my joy and sorrow I walk a crooked road’.
Opening: THE BURYING GROUND
The Burying Ground formed in 2014 as a duo, but Woody Forster and Devora Laye are often accompanied by a rotating cast of masterful session and backing musicians. They are steeped in influences from 1920’s ragtime, country & western, Mississippi blues and New Orleans jazz. Woody’s complex blues guitar and rags are punctuated and raised high by Devora’s tightly syncopated washboard, with playful rolls and staccato jumps and stops. Their solo and combined vocal styling is deeply resonant and heartfelt. Devora’s sound when masterfully bowing the saw is transportive. The Burying Ground has been charming diverse crowds, across all ages and musical tastes, in venues large and small throughout Western Canada and the United States.
“Taking vintage blues and jazz, swing, old-timey country and folk as their templates, this super-cool duo pens authentic sounding material that appears as if plucked from the Alan Lomax archives, but also bears the gritty qualities of their punk rock background. ” – David Morrison of Folk Radio UK’s Top ten albums of 2017