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Tim O'Brien - Traveler


Tim O'Brien

SUG-CD 3978

Sugar Hill Records
PO Box 55300
Durham, NC 27717-5300

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price

Much of Tim O’Brien’s work over the past few years has centered on travel. With Traveler, he synthesizes experiences from places as diverse as Italy and Portland, Oregon.

When O'Brien travels, it becomes a musical journey, exploring different musical forms. O'Brien has the unique ability to be both diverse in his music and true to his art. Whether the song is written by O'Brien himself or drawn from his seemingly unending collection of tunes culled over his years as a musical troubadour, each song is linked to the others by the common thread of Tim O'Brien's artistic integrity.

As always, O'Brien is joined by other elite musicians. It seems that Tim is a lightning rod for acoustic music's finest. On this album, among others, are Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott, Edgar Meyer and Dirk Powell.

While some of O'Brien's recent work has explored a particular style of music in an album, this collection is broad and varied. There's a country blues feel to Kelly Joe's Shoes, a song about a pair of Converse sneakers given him by Kelly Joe Phelps. Family History" carries a touch of acoustic funk, acknowledging that each of us has a little dirt in the family archives somewhere.

Traveler is a fusion of not just O'Brien's physical journeys over the years, but also his musical and spiritual explorations. Its central theme can best be seen in the opening verse from the album's title tune:
We are but travelers on a road without end
Searching for signs that the spirit may send
There are few answers in this life, I'm afraid
Only more questions from this world that he made.

Keep on traveling, Tim.

Track List:

(Songs by Tim O'Brien unless otherwise noted)
  • Kelly Joe's Shoes
  • I've Endured (David Arthur Reed and Ola Belle Reed)
  • Turn the Page Again (O'Brien and Lucas Reynolds)
  • Let Love Take You Back Again
  • Restless Spirit Wandering
  • Another Day (O'Brien and Darrell Scott)
  • On the Outside Looking In
  • Forty-Nine Keep On Talkin' (O'Brien and Ray Bonneville)
  • Family History
  • Fell Into Her Deep Blue Eyes
  • Travelers (O'Brien and Allesandro Massa)

Edited by David N. Pyles

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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