Thursday, June 3, 2010
– Tim O'Brien will release an acoustic-oriented "Chicken & Egg," his 13th solo album, on July 13, on Howdy Skies Records (distributed by E1 Entertainment).
"It was time to make a more acoustic record - more along the lines of a bluegrass thing, with an ensemble and not a lot of production: something pretty down-home, featuring a more consistent band," O'Brien said.
O'Brien spent four days in the studio with Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin, cello, banjo), Bryan Sutton (acoustic and electric guitar),and bassists Dennis Crouch and Mike Bub. Drummer John Gardner is also featured on several tracks.
"I figured out what songs would work best with these guys, then I began singing and playing them around the house for a few months before the session," O'Brien recalls. "These musicians can all play amazingly well and they play a lot better if they are backing up someone who knows what they're doing. We just went in, sat down, and I started calling them off."
As a songwriter, O'Brien has had cuts by the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Nickel Creek and the New Grass Revival.
Mixing originals, collaborations and a handful of outside compositions, O'Brien said, "This stuff reflects what goes on in the life of someone my age. I'm not the young kid on the scene - and I'm happy about that. I'm at a strange point in my life: my kids are growing up while my parents and teachers are passing on. There's a lot happening - but it's just life and that's what this album is about."
O'Brien collaborated with songwriters Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks, Johnathan Byrd, Jimmy Stewart, John Hadley, Johnsmith, Lucas Reynolds and posthumously with Woody Guthrie. Sun Jumped Up features Guthrie's lyrics set to O'Brien's music. "I'd known Nora Guthrie for a while and when she initiated these posthumous collaborations, she sent me some lyrics," O'Brien said of the singer's daughter. "To be asked was a real honor."
Guest harmony vocalists include Sarah Jarosz, Abigail Washburn (Sparrow Quartet, Uncle Earl) and Chris Stapleton (the SteelDrivers). "Chicken & Egg" will also be available on vinyl in limited distribution.