Tim O'Brien with answers about the Chicken & Egg at Telluride Bluegrass

Tim O'Brien with answers about the Chicken & Egg at Telluride Bluegrass

[click “Play” to listen to Tim O’Brien’s conversation with Susan]

Tim O'Brien 2010 Telluride is on a first-name basis Tim O’Brien. He’s been here for so many Telluride Bluegrass Festivals, so many nights at the Sheridan Opera House as well. We all know by now, Tim O’Brien is an entire rhythm section unto himself. And a bandleader, songwriter, vocalist and mentor to boot. We know Tim’s sound by heart, a hybrid of country, folk, bluegrass and swing often described simply as “Americana.” Music with a comfortable, comforting old slipper feel. But with Tim as the filter, everything old comes out new again.

It’s no big secret Telluride’s on again, he’s off again 30-year relationship with Tim is not exclusive: the Grammy (Traditional Folk Category) Tim won in 2005, not to mention countless nods from organizations such as the International Bluegrass Music Awards, is proof, positive his peers and the rest of the world love him too.

C&Ecover Tim O’Brien’s early history is likewise common knowledge: How he grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, surrounded by classic country and bluegrass music, how his influences grew to include the musician of the revolutionary folk era such as Bob Dylan. We may not remember some of the fines points such as the fact Tim bagged a liberal arts education to follow his bliss to Boulder, Colorado, where a burgeoning, eccentric roots music scene was forming. We may not have that information at our fingertips, but Telluriders for sure know what followed: Ophelia Swing Band, Hot Rize, and its alter-ego country swing band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, the stuff of Telluride Bluegrass Festival legend.

The long arm of Tim should be in evidence at the 37th annual gathering of Festivarians: He (along with Bluegrass regular Bryan Sutton) plays on Nora Jane Struthers’ eponymous debut album, and Nora Jane is a contender both in the Troubadour and Band contests. The Dixie Chicks recorded Tim’s songs and two of them are in town, but in new guise: Marty Maguire and Emily Robinson are now the Court Yard Hounds. And Sarah Jarosz, who opens 2010 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Thursday morning, 11:30 a.m., is a featured vocalist on Tim’s latest release Chicken & Egg.

And that’s what’s new. Tim O’Brien is now 56 years old. Chicken & Egg, a thematically-linked 14-song suite, represents a long look at life from the rear view mirror. Chicken & Egg is Tim’s lucky 13th solo album, available to the rest of the world on his own imprint, Howdy Skies, on July 13. The good news is Festivarians get first dibs over the Telluride Bluegrass weekend.

The Tim O’Brien Band closes Thursday, 10:30 p.m. – midnight. Tim also holds a meet and greet/performance Saturday, June 19, 11 a.m. at his friend David Lamb’s Telluride Music store. It’s a chance to get up close and personal with a performer everyone feels they know anyway.

To learn more about Chicken & Egg, click the “play” button and listen to Tim’s podcast.

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