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News | New Tim O'Brien CD "Where The River Meets The Road" Release date 03/31/2017

Grammy award winning singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Tim O’Brien grew up singing in church and in school, and started playing the guitar at age twelve. After seeing Doc Watson on TV, he became a lifelong devotee of old time and bluegrass music.

Where the River Meets the Road is his sixteenth solo release. Each of the 12 tracks on the album is connected to his home state of West Virginia. Two originals, “Guardian Angel” and the title track “Where the River Meets the Road,” tell deeply personal stories of O’Brien’s family - the death of his older sister when he was a toddler, and the tale of his great grandfather moving to his hometown of Wheeling in the 1850s. The remaining ten songs were collected and compiled after more than a decade collaborating with the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Inducted into the Hall of Fame himself in 2013, his work with the organization helped connect him with the sheer width and breadth of music born of West Virginia’s native sons and daughters.

As a teenager O’Brien began a self-described “walkabout,” because like most West Virginians, he felt he must leave the economically forbidding environment of his homeland. For a while he made his living playing folk gigs in Chicago and across the country, eventually landing in Colorado. There he helped found the seminal, progressive Bluegrass band Hot Rize. Their work through the 80’s and 90’s garnered great critical acclaim and eventually brought him to Nashville. His diverse musical career blossomed with the birth of solo albums, multiple chart-topping songs covered by the likes of Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks, and collaborations with artists such as Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, Steve Martin, and more recently Jerry Douglas’ the Earls of Leicester.

O’Brien admits that the scope of these successes would not have been possible if he had remained in his home state. This journey to find work and carve his own path not only mirrors the experience of his own great grandfather, but also the West Virginian experience as a whole. Each song, artist, and songwriter referenced on the album tells a version of this journey. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” is a rare African American nostalgia piece that reminisces about growing up in the coalfields and the importance of his grandmother’s influence. “When the Mist Clears Away” written by Larry Groce, host of West Virginia Public Radio’s iconic, decades-old live show, Mountain Stage, conjures the beauty of the state’s hazy mountains and the undying, hopeful resilience of its pioneering residents. Hit country songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler’s piece “High Flying Bird” - once covered by Jefferson Airplane - describes the mortal grip of the mines and deep roots that prevent the freedom even little birds have, but we do not. As a whole, Where the River Meets the Road simultaneously tells the story of music born of the classic struggle of West Virginia and the story of what brought O’Brien to make this very record.

The pure human relatability of the album is expertly conveyed by its stellar lineup of musicians. Fellow West Virginia Music Hall of Famer, Kathy Mattea sings harmonies on two tracks and country music’s current hero of authenticity and grit, Chris Stapleton, contributes his trademark fiery vocals as well. Never failing to assemble an exceptional backing band, O’Brien calls on friends new and old for musical support, notably Noam Pikelny on banjo, Bryan Sutton on acoustic guitar, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, and Chris Scruggs on steel and electric guitar. His sister Mollie O’Brien and his partner Jan Fabricius join on background vocals, adding familial continuity from the stories to the recordings as well. O’Brien himself opted for fiddle, guitar, and bouzouki, forsaking his primary instrument mandolin to take more of a background, foundational role in the instrumentation, allowing the story, songs, and lyrics to shine.

Written by Justin Hiltner

Blog | Year End Wrap 2016

As I write this, I’m listening to mixes from a new recording that’s coming out at the end of March. Chris Stapleton is singing harmony notes I didn’t know existed on Billy Edd Wheeler’s High Flying Bird. I look outside and see Great Taylor Bay through the Eucalypts. It’s morning on Bruny Island in Tasmania where Jan I have been the last three nights. Earlier this morning, just before sunup, we saw wallabies feeding on the lawn outside. We arrived in Australia on December 27, and we’ve already played a festival this year. Woodford Folk Festival is a giant spectacle with 200K plus people of every stripe dancing and enjoying the music under a very intense summer sun here down under. This coming weekend we play the Cygnet festival near here and then continue our run with shows in Melbourne, Wollongong, Narooma, and Sydney before getting home on January 20th. We built enough free time into the schedule to visit friends and see the sights long the way. Our three days here have been amazing, eating good food and enjoying the beautiful landscape and wildlife on this most southern state in Australia.

The new record, Where the River Meets the Road, focuses on West Virginia music. Besides High Flying Bird, there are songs by Bill Withers, the Bailes Brothers, the Lilly Brothers, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Doc Williams, Hazel Dickens, Edden Hammons, Larry Groce, and John Lilly. I also contributed two originals, both about my own family. After a long year of touring, we got home in late October and I started the process, recorded in November, mixed in December, and now am finishing the liner copy as 2017 begins. I had a blast making the record and tried my best to showcase the wide range of music from my home state. I had good helpers and I’ll leave it at that - you’ll hear more soon!

2016 started with a tour of the UK and Ireland, followed by a tour of the US with Lunasa, then a Midwest run with Old Man Luedecke. I played a very cool concert with Paul Brady in Dublin, on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. At the end of April we stopped in Athens Ohio to work on a recording with my old friend and mentor J.D. Hutchison, which came out in October. I played the Telluride Bluegrass festival for the 40th time. There were a few Hot Rize shows in there, including a show at Red Rocks with String Cheese Incident. Soon after a trip to Tønder Fest in Denmark, we played a waterlogged Winfield festival in Kansas. It was good to be back there after many years. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco and Farmers Branch near Dallas rounded out the year of performances.

But that’s just the business side. My son Joel got married in January, and Jan got two new granddaughters in August and September. In between we saw Niagara Falls from a boat, and I cut my head on a rock on a beach in Malibu. Jan and I got to visit Hawaii on the Lunsasa run, and we took an amazing helicopter ride to the glaciers above Atlin, British Columbia in July. We got our families together for an early Thanksgiving in Nashville, which means our new kitchen is now officially broken in. Then we recharged and made another record. I wrote to Senator Bob Corker, and still need to write to Senator Lamar Alexander, and US Congressman Jim Cooper. So it goes. Happy new year everyone.

Blog | Merry Christmas 2015 and a Happy New Year!

December 21, 2015

Thanks to all the fans I saw on the road this year 2015, and to the ones I didn’t see, I hope to see you next year.

The year started with a record production with Todd Burge and an onstage collaboration with novelist Tim O’Brien, followed by a trip to Celtic Connections in Glasgow. In February, I got to play with the Wheeling Symphony as well as record with heroes Dale Bruning and Bill Frisell, Tour dates with Andy Statman followed in March, which also included a lovely record production with Old Man Luedecke in his cabin in Nova Scotia. I toured with Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project in April, and started a long winding tour with Hot Rize that only ended in mid October. It was a great thing to play with my pals Nick, Pete, and Bryan and to update the bands repertoire with new songs. Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers might have stole some of Hot Rize’s thunder at Rocky Grass but heck, they’ve been in the back of the bus an awful long time waiting, so maybe it was their turn for glory. Hot Rize competed with the Earls of Leicester for airplay and awards, and on the awards front, the Earls won big at the Grammys and at IBMA. I’m proud to be in first and second place all at the same time.

2015 also marked the start of a new record label – Short Order Sessions (SOS). It’s a new model, in that SOS doesn’t make physical CD’s, and it only releases single tracks in digital form. I had some plans on what to record but after a while I needed to think on my feet more, and some surprising things happened in the studio. My partner Jan Fabricius worked hard promoting the 24 songs (two released each month) on social media, and as mandolinist and harmony singer, she helped record some of them too. We made a video in January for the song Dance You Hippy Dance, and that song eventually made it to number one on the folk DJ chart, which that week also included Hot Rize’s Clary Mae and my solo vocal from the Earls of Leicester CD Darling Corey. In the middle of all this, I was able to put together a new CD release on Howdy Skies Records called Pompadour. Check out the video version of the title track that Scott Simontacchi and Kent Blanton helped me make. In October and November Jan and I performed the new music on tour, with Old Man Luedecke as opening act. Thanks to all the radio folks and fans who have played the CD. Thanks also to Dave Ferguson and Sean Sullivan who have recorded most of the tracks for SOS and for Pompadour at the Butcher Shoppe.

And while we toured this year, our friend Bill Schleicher inched along on a kitchen renovation from February until after Thanksgiving. It’s really nice now! Jan and I are now on “staycation”, hanging around our “private island” with a coffee cup or a wine glass in hand, cooking in style. We’ve been cleaning up more than two years of junk stuck in corners in the music room and it’s looking really nice now too. We put up a Christmas tree in there but when we move it out, there should be room for some new songs to grow.

In 2016 I’ll be back at Celetic Connections, Merelfest, Strawberry, Telluride, Rocky Grass, Tønder, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and more! I’ll be traveling to North Carolina and New York in mid January, followed by a solo tour in Ireland and the UK. In February and March, watch for me on tour in the USA in collaboration with traditional Irish music heavyweights Lunasa.

It’s halfway through the shortest day of the year as I write this. Tomorrow, as the days start getting longer, let’s make plans for a great year in 2016. But while looking ahead is an important part of every day, let’s slow down to a full and complete stop during the holidays, remember the important things in this life, and hold our loved ones close. Jan and I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Tim

Press | Where The River Meets The Road

("Where The River Meets The Road")

"Where the River Meets the Road" is remarkably the sixteenth solo release from GRAMMY award winning artist, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien. Each of the 12 tracks on the album is connected to his home state of West Virginia. Two originals, “Guardian Angel” and the title track “Where the River Meets the Road,” tell deeply personal stories of O’Brien’s family - the death of his older sister when he was a toddler, and the tale of his great grandfather moving to his hometown of Wheeling in the 1850s. The remaining ten songs were collected and compiled after more than a decade collaborating with the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Inducted into the Hall of Fame himself in 2013, his work with the organization helped connect him with the sheer width and breadth of music born of West Virginia’s native sons and daughters.

As a teenager O’Brien began a self-described “walkabout,” because like most West Virginians, he felt he must leave the economically forbidding environment of his homeland. For a while he made his living playing folk gigs in Chicago and across the country, eventually landing in Colorado. There he helped found the seminal, progressive Bluegrass band Hot Rize. Their work through the 80’s and 90’s garnered great critical acclaim and eventually brought him to Nashville. His diverse musical career blossomed with the birth of solo albums, multiple chart-topping songs covered by the likes of Nickel Creek, Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks, and collaborations with artists such as Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, Steve Martin, and more recently Jerry Douglas’ the Earls of Leicester.

O’Brien admits that the scope of these successes would not have been possible if he had remained in his home state. This journey to find work and carve his own path not only mirrors the experience of his own great grandfather, but also the West Virginian experience as a whole. Each song, artist, and songwriter referenced on the album tells a version of this journey. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands” is a rare African American nostalgia piece that reminisces about growing up in the coalfields and the importance of his grandmother’s influence. “When the Mist Clears Away” written by Larry Groce, host of West Virginia Public Radio’s iconic, decades-old live show, Mountain Stage, conjures the beauty of the state’s hazy mountains and the undying, hopeful resilience of its pioneering residents. Hit country songwriter Billy Edd Wheeler’s piece “High Flying Bird” - once covered by Jefferson Airplane - describes the mortal grip of the mines and deep roots that prevent the freedom even little birds have, but we do not. As a whole, Where the River Meets the Road simultaneously tells the story of music born of the classic struggle of West Virginia and the story of what brought O’Brien to make this very record.

The pure human relatability of the album is expertly conveyed by its stellar lineup of musicians. Fellow West Virginia Music Hall of Famer, Kathy Mattea sings harmonies on two tracks and country music’s current hero of authenticity and grit, Chris Stapleton, contributes his trademark fiery vocals as well. Never failing to assemble an exceptional backing band, O’Brien calls on friends new and old for musical support, notably Noam Pikelny on banjo, Bryan Sutton on acoustic guitar, Stuart Duncan on fiddle and mandolin, and Chris Scruggs on steel and electric guitar. His sister Mollie O’Brien and his partner Jan Fabricius join on background vocals, adding familial continuity from the stories to the recordings as well. O’Brien himself opted for fiddle, guitar, and bouzouki, forsaking his primary instrument mandolin to take more of a background, foundational role in the instrumentation, allowing the story, songs, and lyrics to shine.

****************************************************

Blog | January 26, 2015

Tim’s news as of January 26, 2015

The New Year is rockin’. I already produced a new CD for my West Virginia friend Todd Burge. I love Todd and his funny/tragic songs, and had the guilty pleasure of playing some electric guitar on the project. Todd’s recording Imitation Life will come out in the spring.

On January 6th, I launched a brand new record label, the Short Order Sessions. (www.shortordersessions.com). SOS now puts out singles twice a month on iTunes, Amazon, and all your digital music outlets. The first track, Brush My Teeth In Coca-Cola describes a chemical spill in Charleston WV one year ago that contaminated the water supply of three hundred thousand residents. That inaugural SOS track benefits WV environmental group AWARE. I’m excited about the upcoming months releases and it’s keeping me busy getting the tracks ready. The next one, Ditty Boy Twang, a Michael Hurley bluegrass blues featuring Samson Grisman on bass and Nathaniel Smith on cello, comes out February 3rd,

I had a nice visit to NYC January 10-12. I played a set at the City Winery with the incredible mandolinist Andy Statman, ate at Vanessa’s Dumplings, and saw the Matisse “cut outs” exhibit. My girlfriend Jan and I also saw the Blue Man Group, but that was in our hometown of Nashville.

January 16-17, I hung with novelist Tim O’Brien. We collaborated on a show called A Tale of Two Tims, put on at the Green Door Gourmet in Nashville by a new writing collective called The Porch (www.porchtn.org). Here’s an interview we did for WSM TV - http://www.wsmv.com/category/219376/bulgers-beat. It was so cool to meet him after all these years. The Viet Nam war informs his work and also mine to an extent. I played some mandolin behind his slight of hand routine and he read from his amazing book The Things They Carried before a Q&A session about the creative process. Songwriter Korby Lenker, storyteller Minton Sparks, and her accompanist John Jackson opened the show.

I’m rehearsing with guitarist Ethan Ballinger for a few shows next month, including a performance with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra on February 14th. It’ll be a homecoming for me, and especially so since my sister Mollie and her husband Rich Moore are also performing.

Now I’m in Scotland to start the annual Transatlantic Sessions tour. We have two shows in Glasgow and then we tour in England. It’s 17 musicians including music directors Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain, with special guests Patty Griffin and Rodney Crowell this year. I’ve been doing this the past eight or ten years, and it’s really cool how the collaboration weaves together over the ten days we spend together, plus we play in beautiful concert halls.

After the last Transatlantic show in London, I fly to LA for the Grammys. Jerry Douglas, Johnny Warren, Shawn Camp, Barry Bales, Charlie Cushman and I are nominated in the Bluegrass category for the Earls of Leicester recording. Hot Rize’s Bryan Sutton will be there too, as nominee in the same category for his fine CD Into My Own.

Upcoming projects before Hot Rize starts up again in March:

I’m excited about a recording project with Bill Frisell and Dale Bruning at eTown studios next month. Bill and I both studied with Dale, who’s now 80 years old and still performing and teaching.

I’ll be producing a new CD for Juno award winning Old Man Luedecke in the cabin behind his house in Nova Scotia in early March.

News | PRESS RELEASE: Short Order Sessions 2015

Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius launch Short Order Sessions

Grammy winning Americana artist Tim O’Brien and his partner Jan Fabricius will launch his new download label Short Order Sessions on January 6th 2015. Available on all digital music outlets including iTunes and Amazon, the label’s debut release is Brush My Teeth With Coca-Cola, a humorous look at the Freedom Industries chemical spill one year ago that contaminated the water supply of 300K West Virginia residents.

Proceeds from Brush My Teeth With Coca-Cola will benefit West Virginia environmental organization AWARE. (www.awarewv.org)

Starting in February, Short Order Sessions will release new singles on the first and third Tuesdays of each month (shortordersessions.com). O’Brien is well known to Folk, Bluegrass, and Americana fans for his hybrid of acoustic roots music and original songs. His current release with Hot Rize, When I’m Free is currently climbing the bluegrass charts. Born in Wheeling WV, the current Nashville resident says the initial release is timely.

“Last year’s chemical spill in the Charleston area woke many of us to the fragile nature of the environment. My song is one of many written in the wake of the tragedy. There’s no easy fix, but one year later, it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and to hold industry accountable. We take tap water for granted, so imagine three hundred thousand people suddenly scrambling for enough water to cook and bathe with, a whole community stressed and afraid. The guy in my song wonders what to do, hoping to catch rain in a bucket. Meanwhile he brushes his teeth with what’s handy.”

O’Brien says he hopes to develop a new record label model with Short Order Sessions. “I’ve seen LPs, then cassettes, now CD’s, come and go. The traditional album set of 10 or more songs is less viable, so is the record store that sells them. Single song releases and downloads have taken over, so Short Order Sessions is my quiet, folky way of staying current. I’m excited to record and release one-off songs with various friends, to keep new ideas flowing. “

Brush My Teeth With Coca-Cola features Kathy Mattea on background vocals. Both West Virginia natives have already made musical stands on coal and the environment, Mattea with her CD “Coal” and O’Brien with last year’s Grammy nominated song “Keep Your Dirty Lights On” in collaboration with Darrell Scott.

Contact: info@timobrien.net
Radio service: Brad Hunt , bhsabres@aol.com

News | West Virginia Music Hall of Fame 2015

As a board member and a West Virginia Music Hall of Fame 2013 Inductee myself, I want to announce the 2015 inductees:
John Ellison, born 1941, Montgomery (McDowell County)
Russ Hicks, born 1942, Beckley (Raleigh County)
Bob Thompson, born 1942, Jamaica, Queens, NY
James Edward Haley, 1885-1951, Hart’s Creek (Logan County)Oby Edgar “Buddy” Starcher, 1906-2001, Ripley (Jackson County) Harry Vann “Piano Man” Walls, 1918-1999, born in Middlesboro, KY

You can go to the WVMHOF website and read about these wonderful and well deserving musicians.
http://www.wvmusichalloffame.com/2015inductees.html

Press | Tim O'Brien: Thoughts on 40th Telluride Bluegrass 2013

A feature and comments from Tim about the 40th Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Blog | Northeast Tour, Family Band in Colorado, and the Continuum

It’s family band fun time in Colorado. The O’Brien Party of 7 assembled in Denver on Tuesday, rehearsed all day Wednesday, then played a show at fab record store Twist and Shout.

Then yesterday we drove 6 hours to Ouray and played a free show in the town park. Both shows were a blast. Today we play for a much bigger crowd in Telluride town park. It streams live on mighty KOTO.org.

I greatly enjoyed traveling with Todd Burge last week in New York and Massachusetts. It was a folk pilgrimage of sorts, starting at the venerable Passim in Cambridge. That club was originally called Club 47 and featured some of the earliest performances of folks like Baez and Dylan. Two nights later we played Café Lena in Saratoga Springs, where Dylan and his girl Suze Rotolo hung out. Then we hit the Clearwater Festival in Croton on Hudson. An extension of Pete Seeger’s work with the Clearwater sloop to publicize and help save a formerly dirty river, the festival is an amazing gathering in a beautiful spot - sail boats just off the stage, sunshine overhead, and music in the air coming from several stages. Todd got his copy of “The Incomplete Folk Singer” signed by Pete Seeger, but the watershed moment for Todd and me was when the 97-year-old Pete stepped on stage with Arlo and 14 other members of the Guthrie family to end Saturday’s concert.

(This pilgrimage really started for me in February when I visited Mike Seeger’s widow Alexia, bought one of his banjos and his mandola, and then two days later when I spent an afternoon with Doc Watson at his home in Deep Gap NC.)

Bill Monroe (I’m name dropping, I know) would at times dismiss some music, saying, “It ain’t no part of nothing.” While grammar teachers would note that with the double negative, such music must then be part of something, I think I’m starting to understand Monroe’s point. It is indeed good to be part of something, and my pilgrimage underlines that I am lucky to walk in and help continue the long path of traditional music. Doc and Bill and Earl and Woody and Levon may be gone but they are certainly not forgotten.

Blog | Doc Watson

The Beatles and the Folk Revival both had my attention in the early mid '60's and my friends were playing Sears catalogue guitars, and I learned a lick or two before getting my own little red Stella acoustic for $30. That was when I was 12, so around 1966, I was going through my new songbooks – Joan Baez, the Beatles, and one of the songs of another prominent voice: Roger Miller. I heard some Flatt and Scruggs on TV and then by ‘68 I’d gotten a glimpse and a simultaneous earful of this guy Doc Watson.

His sound and his brilliance were intoxicating. With my new musical direction, Doc soon replaced baseball star Roberto Clemente as my hero. I sought him out at the local department store record section, and found the Strictly Instrumental LP with Flatt and Scruggs, and learned a little of John Hardy and Spanish Two Step. My parents knew of my obsession and woke me early one morning because he was about to appear on network TV’s Today show. A year or so later I got to see him live at the Ohio University Folk Festival in Athens Ohio. I remember the night well. My friend Pete Bachman and I were so excited. We were at the very back of the sports arena where he was playing, and we waited through a rock band called McKendree Spring. They had an electric violin player, and that was cool, but we were waiting for the real thing. When Doc finally started we were too excited to stay in our seats and we made out way down closer to the stage. It was Doc and his son Merle and they were still not using guitar pickups and it sounded so right and we just ate it up.

I guess the think with Doc was he grabbed you first with that guitar playing. It was obvious to me that this was the way to play the thing. I was too naïve to realize how hard it would be, impossible now that I think about it, to do it like Doc, to sound that way. So you’re under that spell, and if you’re like me, you’re into all kinds of music and especially hot guitar stuff, and here he is just nailing it. It’s bluegrass based, but then he also does the fingerpicking thing, teaching folks like me about Merle Travis’ music. And he sings the folky hits like Tom Paxton’s “Last Thing On My Mind”, but also sneaks in old ballads like “Little Sadie” and “Omie Wise.” He gives you clues in his MC work so you remember names like Travis and Gid Tanner and Mississippi John Hurt. So under Doc’s shining aura you get this overview of the greater American music repertoire and beyond a bit. Celtic music, for instance, is right behind his bluegrass renditions of fiddle tunes. So back then in 1966 Doc set me up to go on this musical feeding frenzy and growth spurt. Other stuff came to my attention and I’d focus on that – Bob Wills and Django for instance – but I kept going back to Doc and his music.

That has never changed. I’m still going back to Doc and a select few others who have been my musical tour guides.

In 1974 I went out on my own as a musician after trying college for a year. I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and got a gig in a pizza joint accommodations in a back room as a perk. I played Doc Watson and Norman Blake and Hank Williams and Bob Wills. When people found out I was from West Virginia, they said, oh yeah, you know about country and bluegrass music and they took me more seriously. I just played it because I liked it along with everything else, but it became a calling card – being from West Virginia and playing country stuff. From Wyoming I hitched to California, arriving in Berkeley the day Patty Hearst was kidnapped. Scuffling around Berkeley, I found a used Doc Watson Family LP for sale and bought it, amazed that you could buy a Doc record used. From there I hitched to Boulder Colorado and made a visit to the Denver Folklore Center. They had all the Doc recordings for sale there, and I thought, “Berkeley is cool, but Colorado is cooler.” I ended up moving to Boulder that fall, and the Folklore Center was the place where people met and formed up into musical units. Hot Rize played gigs together before we had a name, as we all worked there in one way or another, teaching lessons, selling or repairing guitars. I just saw a poster from our very first formal concert, February 4th, 1978. It was Doc Watson at Colorado Women’s College. At the bottom of the poster is copy that reeds “and introducing Hot Rize.”

Over the years, I’d hunt for old songs as well as write some new ones. When I thought I’d found a good old folk song that nobody else was doing, I’d learn it and maybe sing it on stage and even record it, after which I’d find out that both Doc Watson and Jerry Garcia had already done so.

Doc welcomed me at Merlefest each year, and one year I asked him to sit in on my set. I was selfish and had the rest of the band sit out, and we played two guitars and I tried unsuccessfully to be Merle for a few minutes. He even sat in with Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers once, wearing sunglasses and cutting up like I never seen him do.

Last February, I was near his home doing a concert, and got the nerve to call him. After some confusion about who I was and all, I was invited to his home. An hour later, as I arrived in a snow storm and turned the car off, I could hear his guitar and voice. The song was “While Roving On A Winter’s Night.” I looked through the door and saw him sitting there with his wife’s small bodied Gallagher guitar. It was flawless and beautiful and I waited until he finished to knock on the door.

Doc’s gone now and it’s a sad thing, but he’s inside so many of us and his influence is so great that he’s not very far away. We’re lucky for that. Thanks Doc.

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