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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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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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