Tim O’Brien (from the album Where the River Meets the Road)
West Virginia provided the musical backdrop for Tim O’Brien in his early years. Tim returns to the sounds that are part of the experience of West Virginia on his recent release, Where the River Meets the Road. On his personal journey, Tim O’Brien headed west, forming Hot Rize in Boulder, Colorado, and coming back east to take up residency in Nashville, Tennessee. Where the River Meets the Road is the sixteenth solo recording from Tim O’Brien, adding to his duo collaborations with Darrell Scott, as a member of the Earls of Leicester, and contributions to film soundtracks O Brother, Where for Art Thou? and Cold Mountain. Tim has toured and recorded with Steve Earle’s Dukes (early 2000’s) and Mark Knopfler (2009/2010) as well as producing albums for artists such as Yonder Mountain String Band, Old Man Luedecke, and The Infamous Stringdusters. He heads back to the mountains of West Virginia on Where the River Meets the Road, bringing friends such as Stuart Duncan, Kathy Mattea, Chris Stapleton, Bryan Sutton, and Jan Fabricius for a family gathering of music.
The need to leave West Virginia for work and to support life is shared by many native-born West Virginians. The stories of other journeys make up the songs on Where the River Meets the Road in tracks from Tim O’Brien, Hazel Dickens, Bill Withers, and traditional tunes from The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Doc Williams. A track from Billy Edd Wheeler opens the album with “High Flying Bird” as Tim O’Brien tells the tales of a farmboy growing into a man with “My Old Brown Coat and Me”, a left behind lover hoping for the return of “Little Annie”, and an Irish wanderer making his new home in West Virginia on the title track as he warns of dangerous consumption over a honky tonk sway in “Drunkard’s Grave”. Where the River Meets the Road celebrates the music of the people of West Virginia found in their faith (“Friday, Sunday’s Coming”), their love of the land (“Windy Mountains”), their beliefs in a better tomorrow (“When the Mist Clears Away”), and their past (“Few Old Memories”), as Tim O’Brien lets his fiddle lead the way for the instruments to celebrate the beauty of his homestate with “Queen of the Earth and Child of the Skies”.