• New in Print: Traveler - The Musical Odyssey of Tim O'Brien

    Traveler - The Musical Odyssey of Tim O'BrienNORMAN, OKLA. — The University of Oklahoma Press has announced the publication of Traveler - The Musical Odyssey of Tim O'Brien, by Bobbie Malone and Bill C. Malone.

    For five decades, as a singer, musician, songwriter, and producer, Tim O'Brien has ceaselessly explored the vast American musical landscape.

    While Appalachia and Ireland eventually became facets of the defining myth surrounding him and his music, he has digested a broad array of roots styles, reshaping them to his own purposes.

    Award-winning biographer Bobbie Malone and premier country music historian Bill C. Malone have teamed again, this time to chronicle O'Brien’s career and trace the ascent of Hot Rize and its broadening and enrichment of musical traditions.

    At the beginning of that career, O'Brien moved from his native West Virginia to the Rocky Mountain West. In just a few years, he became the lead singer, mandolin and fiddle player, and principal songwriter of beloved 1980s bluegrass band Hot Rize. Seeking to move beyond bluegrass, he next went to Nashville. O'Brien's success in navigating the shoals of America's vast reservoir of folk musical expressions took him into the realm of what is now called Americana.

    The core of Tim O'Brien's virtuosity is his abiding and energetic pursuit of the next musical adventure. As a traveler, he has ranged widely in choosing the next instrument, song, style, fellow musicians, or venue. Written with O’Brien's full cooperation and the input of family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Traveler provides the first complete, behind-the-scenes picture of a thoroughly American self-made musical genius—the boy who grew up listening to country artists at the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and ended up charting a new course through American music.

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    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Mandomax's Avatar
      Mandomax -
      I received my copy this weekend and am halfway through it. Compusively readable and exhaustively researched, this book has it all: Tim's boyhood, Hot Rize's ascent into the upper echelons of bluegrass, Mike Kemnitzer and how he got his nickname, and even a Mandolin Cafe reference. I highly recommend this. I would be done with it by now if its tales of Tim's tireless work ethic didn't inspire me to put the book down and do more practicing.
    1. Scott Rucker's Avatar
      Scott Rucker -
      Anxiously awaiting my dead tree copy
    1. Greg Schochet's Avatar
      Greg Schochet -
      My main musical influence for many years! I've lived in Boulder since 1987 when Hot Rize was in their prime, and Tim was experimenting with solo projects at small venues in town. Before Rockygrass Academy moved to Lyons, it was held in Telluride before the festival there. In 1993 I took the mandolin class with Tim and he was a great teacher and fun to be with. Proud to say I've moved past stalker to friend and have shared some whiskey and tunes with him. Didn't know about this book; very excited to read it!
    1. Fretbear's Avatar
      Fretbear -
      An American Treasure;
      He overflows with talent....