Repertoire is a major part of the Tim O'Brien story. For in addition to his own prolific and successful songwriting, this child of West Virginia and the WWVA Jamboree has never stopped mining the American music canon for great material. He's a song sponge. Songs collect and abide in Tim O'Brien's world as comfortably as family heirlooms. They come from around the world, particularly the American South and Ireland. They morph into new ideas and new songs that update old truths about the human condition. They find expression in O'Brien's clear-as-ice voice on stages, in recording studios and at home with circles of gifted musical friends.
O'Brien's relationship with songs embodies the very essence of the folk music tradition, always aware that the branches of the musical tree need sap from the roots. O'Brien was so full of songs when he approached his latest phase of recording that they overwhelmed one album and became two.
O'Brien is an icon in American acoustic music, including folk, bluegrass, and old-time. As a founding member of the legendary bluegrass act Hot Rize, O'Brien honed his chops as the quintessential front man and entertainer. Equally respected as a songwriter, his songs have been cut by the likes of The Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea, and Nickel Creek. O'Brien went on to lead his own band as well as several side projects and became a staple at summer festivals across the US and in Europe. Look for Tim in Bluegrass Journey, a documentary on bluegrass and festivals, to be aired on PBS stations nationwide this fall.