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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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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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