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. ( 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 ( Here’s an interview we did for WSM TV - 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. (

Starting in February, Short Order Sessions will release new singles on the first and third Tuesdays of each month ( 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.

Radio service: Brad Hunt ,

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.

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

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.

Blog | Party of 7, Ireland, Bela, and IBMA

Since I checked in last, I played some shows and recorded with the family band called O’Brien Party of Seven. The group includes my sister Mollie O’Brien, her husband Rich Moore on guitar, daughters Brigit and Lucy Moore on vocals and piano, and my sons Jack and Joel O’Brien on vocals, bass, and percussion.

Our recording should come out early next year. It’s tentatively titled “Reincarnation” and features all the members singing the wonderful, quirky songs of Roger Miller. I hope we can do a CD launch tour in the spring.

A recent trip to Ireland brought me back to my ancestral County Cavan for the All Ireland Fleadh. I had a killer band including husband and wife team John McCusker and Heidi Talbot from Scotland, Arty McGlynn from Ireland, and Mike McGoldrick and John Joe Kelly from UK. We did several gigs around the country as well, all very well attended, and then Arty and I left for Tønder fest in Denmark for some shows with Dirk Powell.

I spent some time with Steve Martin in his not so humble cabin home on a hill in North Carolina a few weeks ago. We ate some food and picked for his wife and in-laws. Then we met again the next day at the Mountain Song Festival in Brevard North Carolina, where I performed with Bryan Sutton, and sat in on Steve’s show. It’s a great event in benefit for the Boys and Girls Club there. I stayed an extra day and sat in with 18 South and as well as the Steep Canyon Rangers.

Next was a long drive to the north shore of Lake Superior at Grand Marais Minnesota, where I met old friends Jon Veznor, Kathy Mattea, the Mountain Stage crew, and many more at the 10th annual Unplugged Festival at North House Folk School. A bunch of us took a short hike up Cascade creek the day before things kicked for me with a mandolin and fiddle workshop, a couple Mountain Stage Tapings, and a songwriters concert featuring my old friend and blues guitar specialista Mary Flower, Irish singer Cathie Ryan, John Gorka, Cheryl Wheeler, Michael Johnson, and more! It’s a beautiful spot, and the North House Folk School is worth a visit. You can learn to build a boat, throw a pot, or play a fiddle there. Mary and I played a show at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis on our way home. I enjoyed seeing several musician friends at that show as well – Bob Douglas, Peter Ostroushko, Tim Hennessy, Cal Hand, and the powerful Judy Larson.

Now I’m home preparing for the IBMA awards, and a Hot Rize tour through the southeast. We’re rolling on a bus from Georgia to Virginia, so check the tour page and make plans to see us on our 10 day run. I’ve got a playlist of new songs to try with the fellers as we roll down the highway in a tour bus.

Last night at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, I saw and heard the debut of Bela Fleck’s new concerto for banjo and symphony orchestra. Banjo and fiddle go great together, and so do banjo and violins, cellos, and the rest. It was spectacle and a wonderful night of music. I sent him an email today saying, when you get done with your performance tonight, why not put your feet up and try not to be so brilliant for a few days!

Lastly, I want to urge music fans of all types to come to Charleston West Virginia for the induction of a seven new members of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame on Saturday October 15th. Once again it’s a diverse and interesting class of inductees - long time Jimi Hendrix collaborator Billy Cox, the aforementioned Kathy Mattea, jazz great Butch Miles, and country diva Connie Smith will be there, and we’ll be inducting deceased greats Tommy Thompson of the Red Clay Ramblers, Walter “Jack” Rollins who wrote both “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and “Frosty the Snowman”, and blues belter “Diamond Teeth” Mary McClain. This awards show features some one-of-a-kind performances and feel good presentations each year. I know Marty Stuart and I will back up Connie, which I’m excited about. I’ll be in the house band once again. For info go to

Blog | Interesting Glance Off The Big Time

Last night:

I get back from the grocery store, feed the cats, and put the perishables away, and take the first sip of a beer. I heat a frying pan and take a burger I’d thawed the day before from the fridge and put salt and pepper on both sides.

The phone rings and it’s my friend Ferg, who might call at any time of day just to say hi, or at other times, to suggest an outing. The later is the case.

“What are you doing?”

“Getting ready to fry a burger. You?”

“Do you want to go to U2?”


“Me and Matt Sweeney and Cowboy and Cousin Bob are going to U2. Do you want to come?”


“Meet us at PM by 6.”

“Cool. Tell you what, order me a burger. I’ll be right over.”

“They’ll have food backstage.”

“OK, scratch that. I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”

I love this town. You never know what kind of random possibility will present itself. I had no idea the biggest four-piece rock band in the world was in town. But hand it to Ferg to come up with five backstage passes to their sold out show at Vanderbilt Stadium.

You have to know the characters in this little drama. Ferg is Dave Ferguson, a Nashville recording engineer, whose big client in recent years was the team of Rick Ruben and Johnny Cash. He’s a partner with John Prine in the Butcher Shoppe studio. Ferg learned how to push buttons and turn knobs from Cowboy Jack Clement, a veritable recording legend. Jack just turned 80 and is in the process of yet another transformation. At Sam Phillips’ Sun Studios in February of 1957, Jack was the guy that pushed the red button to capture Jerry Lee Lewis’s seminal “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”, unleashing a rock and roll monster and cementing a friendship with “the Killer” that lasts to this day. Jack wrote songs, performed, and produced recordings for Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, John Hartford, and many more. He’s made and lost several fortunes, built three recording studios, and generally had his finger on the pulse of Nashville’s music scene since the mid 1960’s. His latest facility, Cowboy Arms and Recording Spa, on Belmont Boulevard near Woodmont, caught fire just seven days ago. The floor to the attic studio crashed into the ground floor, and a piece of iron is all that’s left of his Steinway grand piano. He was able to save his guitars, and the firemen thankfully covered a shelf stacked with hard drives with plastic, so hopefully his precious recordings have survived. It’s a tragedy, but Jack had good insurance and he plans to rebuild.

Ferg and Cowboy worked with Bono, Edge and company on “Rattle and Hum” at Sun Studios in 1987. Ferg released an email into U2’s organization last week after the fire, and sure enough he got a call yesterday, show day, and perhaps coincidently, his 49th birthday.

The rest of the cast for last night’s salvo includes Matt Sweeny, guitarist of choice for Rick Ruben’s productions. That’s him all over Adele’s smash release “21.” Yesterday also happened to be Matt’s 42nd birthday. He and Ferg are currently working with a Swedish pop singer named Anna Ternheim. I recorded some fiddle for them a month ago. The remaining character is Jack’s second cousin Bob, custom furniture builder and part time musician.

I meet Ferg and Matt at a bar on Belmont called PM, and then we drive to a hotel on West End where Jack’s staying. From there Cousin Bob drives the party to the show in Cowboy’s Cadillac. Crowds swarm as we near the stadium; we get stopped where a street is closed off. Bob pulls into PF Chang’s valet parking stop, hovering there a few minutes while Ferg and Matt go on foot to find out where to get the passes. As is often the case at large events, ATT networks are jammed, so without cell phone communications, it’s a miracle we are able to intuitively park close to the stadium, and then independently find Ferg and Matt just outside one of the stadium entrances. The whole time, Jack’s asking, “When does the show start?” and “Why are we going so early?” But he’s a youthful 80 years old, and well up to the walk around the stadium, into the gate, over the bleachers and through crowds to the backstage, and someplace called “the round room” where we’ll supposedly meet with the fellas in the band. Ferg’s charging ahead, but Jack keeps running into fans, and stops to talk. I stay in between Ferg and the lagging Jack and Bob, and we inch worm along. After a couple spirals around the outside, the circles tighten and we’re now walking hallways underneath the stadium, eventually entering a room with about 300 hangers on holding either Kirkland water bottles or Budweiser longnecks. Matt gets waylaid at this time and ends up at catering, but we settle for some crackers and nuts in the round room. After 20 minutes a nice blonde U2 operative in painted on pants greets us, and informs us that in another 20 minutes she’ll take us back to meet the guys. Jack finds a chair and watches the folks mill around. Next we’re escorted to yet another curtained enclosure, where we wait yet another 20 minutes eat more nuts, drink more water. Dierks Bentley and his lovely wife join us for a few minutes, then leave. Then all of a sudden here comes Bono and the Edge, dressed and ready for the stage. They’re both effusive and friendly and surprisingly calm given that they’re going to play for 50,000 people in a few minutes. They express their sympathy for Jack’s loss. When introduced to me and Sweeny, Bono says, “Oh, you’re Italian” which is the exactly the same thing Charley Pride said to me when Ferg introduced me to him a year or so ago. Soon the front half of U2 exits and we continue on the spiral path, along with Bill and Karyn Frist and others to platform A, just in front of the mixing console.

Waves spontaneously generate in the thousands around and above us, and the excitement is tangible. A drum tech steps on stage and the crowd goes wild. Then the band appears on the wrap around video screen above the stage, as they too spiral towards their performance. They take the stage and start to rockin, thank you very much. It’s loud and amazingly full for a four piece, and of course we know they travel with 100 semi trucks full of gear, so it should sound good. After four songs, Cowboy’s had enough. U2’s amazing, but it’s time to go, and we walk quickly to the corner where Bob picks us up in Cowboy’s Sedan de Ville.

After dropping Jack as his hotel, Cousin Bob heads back to the concert, and Ferg, Matt, and I drive to Broadway Brew house for a drink. But Sweeney forgot his ID, so we’re turned away. We try Madison House, a fancy speakeasy place on Division I’ve heard about, but after waiting 15 minutes to get in, we give up and go our separate ways. It’s not quite 10pm, and Ferg’s gotta get his house ready for a birthday pickin party tomorrow, and also has to pick up Anna at the airport in the morning. He drops me at PM, as my car’s parked near there. I sit at the bar with some of the staff there, order food, watch baseball highlights, and relate what just happened.

Just another Saturday night in Nashville, my hometown.

Blog | Chicken Sightings 2010

“Chicken & Egg” is the title on my new CD. A few weeks ago a friend discovered a visual artist named Tim O’Brien who has a painting named “Chicken and the Egg.” Very cool.

My summer issue of “Goldenseal” arrived last Tuesday. It’s a magazine dedicated to West Virginia folk life, and the cover picture is a rooster with “Chickens!” in large type above it.

Arriving backstage at Telluride, I noticed the dressing rooms were decorated with pictures of, you guessed it, chickens!

And while driving through Montrose on the way back from Telluride yesterday, we passed a Mexican takeout place called “Pollo Azado” (roast chicken in Spanish). Of course standing outside, beckoning to customers, was a guy dressed in a chicken suit. Of course it was June 21st, the longest day of the year, so there was more room than any other day for chicken sightings.

So maybe the chicken does come before the egg. Then again, I start most days out with a fried egg and almost never eat chicken in flesh form before or during breakfast. But are you seeing more chickens out there folks? There’s a recent trend where city folks are starting to keep chickens again. There are chickens in the new CD’s photography, mostly because they were there at my neighbor’s place, and willing models. Let me know what you’re seeing out there.

Telluride wrap up: Imelda Mae was killer. The Dublin girl sang her rockabilly heart out, and her band was smoking. I particularly liked her drummer who reminded me of old style TV show house band guys who can play anything. Other highlights included the David Rawlings Machine, Vasen, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Punch Brothers. Mumford and Sons and Brandi Carlisle were new to me and very good. So was Lyle Lovett of course. I got my first look at the amazing tabla drumming of Zakir Hussain. Wow! He often played a percussive and melodic twin to Bela Fleck’s banjo on Saturday night. On the house band set, I particularly enjoyed a new composition from Edgar Meyer. After four days in Telluride, I always have a dry throat and a tired body.

I have some time off now until July 2nd when I’m playing the Grand Ole Opry. You can listen online at