Look for a new release from Tim O’Brien on July 13, an opportune date as this will mark the 13th solo project since his first in 1984.
The new album is fully self-produced, and will be on Tim’s Howdy Skies Records. Entitled Chicken & Egg, it would seem to take on the age-old question… and answer “both!”
There are 14 racks, 10 of them songs Tim has written or co-written. Among his collaborators is Martie Maguire (she of Dixie Chicks fame) on Mother Mary, a Gospel song very much in the Catholic prayer tradition – not a common thing in the folk and bluegrass tradition. Tim also engages in a bit of posthumous co-writing with Woody Guthrie, adding music to a lyric to Guthrie’s unfinished The Sun Jumped Up. There is also a song co-authored with John Hadley, who contributed so many great songs to The Country Gazette back in the day.
Tim plays a variety of stringed instruments and sings, with assistance from Charlie Cushman on banjo, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, cello and banjo, Mike Bub and Dennis Crouch on bass, and Bryan Sutton on guitar. Harmony vocals are provided by Sarah Jarosz, Abigail Washburn and Chris Stapleton.
He sums up the album’s theme in a moment of introspection:
“This stuff reflects what goes on in the life of someone my age. I’m not the young kid on the scene – and I’m happy about that. I’m at a strange point in my life; my kids are growing up while my parents and teachers are passing on. There’s a lot happening – but it’s just life and that’s what this album is about.”
We hope to speak with Tim about Chicken & Egg as the release date draws near.