Tim O’Brien sings You Took Me In for Tom Paxton tribute

For their second single from Bluegrass Sings Paxton, Mountain Home Music’s upcoming tribute album to the legendary folk singer and songwriter, Tom Paxton, Tim O’Brien is up with You Took Me In.

Instead of reaching back into Paxton’s deep catalog of songs, Tim and Tom got together with Jan Fabricius to write a new song for this project, hence You Took Me In.

O’Brien shared a bit about how that all came to be.

“Jan and I came of age listening to and then singing Paxton songs before we ever knew his name. We both learned Last Thing on My Mind, and sang it around campfires before we met each other. So like a lot of folks, we kinda have Paxton in our musical DNA.

Tom has been friendly and supportive over the years, and in recent years often expressed his desire to write together. With this project, push came to shove, and Jan and I wrote You Took Me In with Tom on our second session. I had the lyric idea and imagined some Earl Scruggs-style gospel guitar as backing. We had the song in about an hour. When we were done I asked Tom how many songs he’d written that week he said, ‘I’ve written four songs today!’

Paxton’s early songs were the kind that sorta begged audiences to sing along. This one reaches in that direction. I love how simple and direct it is.

Songs are like little puzzles that a certain strata of musicians have fun solving. We’re just honored to sit beside Tom, even if only virtually, as he does his masterful thing. He knows to let the song happen. He can pull a lyric from an instrumental riff, he improvises easily, and you can just trust him. When he says to go higher with the melody or go to the four chord, we’re never afraid to follow.”

The song is a paraphrase of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew (25:36), describing the many ways one can provide assistance to their fellow man.

Performed in a bluesy gospel style, the song features Tim O’Brien on guitar and lead vocal, with Jan Fabricius on mandolin, Shadd Cobb on fiddle, and Mike Bub on bass. Jan and Shadd add vocal harmonies.

It’s a good’n. Have a listen…

You Took Me In is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.