Versatile folk duo
Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Grammy winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien grew up singing in church and in school. Gaining attention in the 1980s with the Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize, O’Brien scored a country hit with Kathy Mattea’s cover of his song “Walk the Way the Wind Blows” in 1986. Soon, artists like Nickel Creek and Garth Brooks also covered his songs.
Collaborators include his sister, Mollie O’Brien, old-time musician Dirk Powell and songwriter Darrell Scott as well as Steve Earle, Bill Frisell, Mark Knopfler and Sturgill Simpson. O’Brien formed his own record label, Howdy Skies Records, in 1999 and launched the digital download label Short Order Sessions (SOS) with his partner Jan Fabricius in 2015.
O’Brien says his most recent recording, He Walked On, is about “what you need to do to survive in America.” Covering work, racial issues and modern technology, its eight originals and five covers offer an expansive portrayal of the nation from its beginnings to the present day. Other notable O’Brien recordings, like the bluegrass Bob Dylan covers of Red On Blonde and the Celtic-Appalachian fusion of The Crossing, led to Grammy-winning CDs Fiddler’s Green (2005) and The Earls of Leicester (2014). 2017’s Where the River Meets the Road paid tribute to the music of his native West Virginia.
Tim O’Brien performs in a duet setting with his partner, Jan Fabricius, on harmony vocals. Featuring his solid guitar, fiddle and mandolin, the show offers a range of original compositions and traditional arrangements, mixed with stories and Tim’s signature self-deprecating humor.