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Chicken & Egg

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Album Review

At the nearly 20-album mark, Tim O'Brien has proven his mettle as one of the premier folk/bluegrass artists in America. He keeps cranking out new songs tested over time on the road, plays wonderfully on a variety of stringed instruments (acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, or bouzouki), and always has a good sense of humor. This collection of tunes recorded in Nashville should delight anyone who has come within ear's length of his music, showcasing why he's one of the best at what he does. Using a core band with bassist Mike Bub or Dennis Crouch, fellow string player Stuart Duncan (violin, cello, mandolin), and drummer John Gardner, O'Brien makes headstrong music with a light-hearted air. The funny, cautionary tale of Adam and Eve in "You Ate the Apple" sets a good tone, but then O'Brien and friends jam on classic traditional songs like "Suzanna" and Woody Guthrie's bouncy "The Sun Jumped Up" featuring veteran harmonica player Ray Bonneville. Of the songs O'Brien wrote or co-wrote, themes of domesticity, brokenhearted blues, and sinner/saint dualities creep in. The blue collar anthem "Workin'" could easily be a standard down the road. Vocally, the leader shouts and croons just a bit, but essentially produces down-home music without overt Southern or mountain inflections. Chicken & Egg is another triumph for a truly great musician, conceptually and otherwise, and is dedicated to his recently deceased father Frank A. O'Brien, Jr. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: March 16, 1954 in Wheeling, WV

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Tim O'Brien is one of the spearheads of contemporary bluegrass. As co- founder and lead vocalist of Hot Rize and Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, O'Brien served as a bridge between the traditional sounds of the hill country and the modern styles of bluegrass in the 1980s. Since the band's breakup, O'Brien has continued to expand the music's borders as a soloist, a duo partner with his sister Mollie, and with his band, the O'Boys. O'Brien's songs have additionally been recorded by Kathy Mattea, the...
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Chicken & Egg, Tim O'Brien
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