The Musical Odyssey of Tim O'Brien
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
At the beginning of that career, O’Brien moved from his native West Virginia to the Rocky Mountain West. In just a few years, he became the lead singer, mandolin and fiddle player, and principal songwriter of beloved 1980s bluegrass band Hot Rize. Seeking to move beyond bluegrass, he next went to Nashville. O’Brien’s success in navigating the shoals of America’s vast reservoir of folk musical expressions took him into the realm of what is now called Americana.
The core of Tim O’Brien’s virtuosity is his abiding and energetic pursuit of the next musical adventure. As a traveler, he has ranged widely in choosing the next instrument, song, style, fellow musicians, or venue. Written with O’Brien’s full cooperation and the input of family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Traveler provides the first complete, behind-the-scenes picture of a thoroughly American self-made musical genius—the boy who grew up listening to country artists at the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and ended up charting a new course through American music.
“With Traveler, Bill C. and Bobbie Malone remind us that Tim O’Brien, the bluegrass plus country plus Americana plus Irish folk singer-songwriter, is one of America’s greatest-ever musicians. But that was the easy part. Traveler’s real gift comes in the great adventure the Malones discover—solo flights and collaborations, hits and misses, traditions upheld and reinvented, families inherited or chosen—in something so humble as the day in and day out of being a working musician. What a ride, what a life!”—David Cantwell, author of The Running Kind: Listening to Merle Haggard
“Traveler is a beautiful portrait of Tim O’Brien, known as the ‘renaissance man of country music.’ This masterpiece by Bobbie and Bill Malone celebrates O’Brien’s extraordinary musical career and will be welcomed by his many fans.”—William Ferris, author of Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues
“In this deeply researched and lovingly crafted book, two expert historians give Tim O’Brien’s remarkable career the rich treatment it deserves, spotlighting O’Brien’s music and illuminating the worlds from which it comes. A fitting tribute to a unique artist.”—Charles L. Hughes, author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South