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TIM O‘BRIEN & DARRELL SCOTT —WE’RE USUALLY A LOT BETTER THAN THIS (Full Light Records / Thirty Tigers)

 

http://www.darrellscott.com

 

www.timobrien.net

 

 

Singer-songwriters, multi-pickers and sometime producers Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott have toured extensively over the years. Both in their own right and as part of Steve Earle’s Bluegrass Dukes, the Transatlantic Sessions and as in Scott’s case with Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy the two played a great deal together during the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the good news is they are about to go out on the road once again.    

 

Taken from two live benefit shows the accomplished acts performed in 2005 and 2006 for The Arthur Morgan School, a progressive boarding school in the mountains of western North Carolina the music though acoustic —it sounds electric! Such is the atmosphere induced by O’Brien’s relentless probing on mandolin and Scott’s omnipresent acoustic guitar as not only do they mock the album’s title but take musicianship of their idiom to another level. One familiar to only the likes of them; among the performances set to leave you slack jawed is their rubber burning version of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘White Freightliner Blues’ (it is on the conclusion Tim makes the tongue-in-cheek remark) and with their instruments well primed ‘Mick Ryan’s Lament’ (Robert Emmet Dunlap). Then with banjo utilised ‘With A Memory Like Mine’ comes through like it was on the back of a hurricane! A co-write between Scott and his father, Wayne Scott it builds into a powerful, all embracing affair as it gains great momentum to take the curves like it was on a precipice. So keen is the bond between the acts, and spontaneous impulse to throw themselves head long into the fire of creativity it is a case of the music tottering (but always on the right side) on the edge. 

 

Gordon Lightfoot’s great piece ‘Early Morning Rain’ has O’Brien sing a great version with Scott on harmony vocals but the competition on this album is so great it isn't in the top three! As in ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning’ (man, the way their vocals rub off one another is UNBELIEVABLE), ‘You Don’t Have To Move That Mountain’ (Keith Whitley) plus you have Scott’s swirling, feel good ‘Long Time Gone’ (one of three songs they recorded for their album, Real Time) that speaks of how life once was and how isn’t for coming back again. Days when there were lots of small farms and not huge conglomerate owned ones. People were connected mind body and soul to the land then, and though times could be hard the feel of owning and working for the good of the family was worth every drop of sweat. As for Scott's vocals and the playing, it is as good as at anytime on the album and doesn't the audience let them know it! And when it comes to easing their foot off the pedal ‘The Hummingbird’ that speaks of his childhood and of an old Hummingbird guitar. 

 

Tim’s love of old country music; as he used to perform in Colorado bluegrass combo Hot Rize’s alt-ego unit, Red Knuckles & The Trail Blazers gains inclusion. Via Lefty Frizzell’s ‘Mom And Dad’s Waltz’ prior to them producing their tour de force of ‘When There’s No One Around / Will The Circle Be Unbroken’. Killer!!! Follow that, no way. Not even Tim and Darrell were up for taking it on and how wise they were too. 

 

                                                            Maurice Hope 

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September 2018

1
The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
FC,JB,RK,TJ,LK
2
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
PKO
3
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
FB,JBO
4
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
3
Blue Rose Records
CVL,DHO
5
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
MB,SZ
6
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
FCE,AL,MG
7
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
Independent
SP,DH,RST,RW
8
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
DD,CRS,BM
9
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
LM
 
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
 
11
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
GS
12
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
 
 
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
PK
14
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
MM,JF
15
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
 
 
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Gall
Locke Creek Records
TK,HDB
17
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
 
 
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
 
 
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
MP
20
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Secularia
Red House Records
KG,JJC
21
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
BH,JSM
 
Lucero
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
JJ
 
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
MW
24
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Legacy
 
25
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Tree
Cn Records

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