Tim O’Brien

Singer and songwriter Tim O’Brien is an avid collector of traditional songs from around the world, particularly the American South and Ireland, and a talented tunesmith whose hobby provides a wealth of inspiration for his own music. At one point in his career, he sought to tackle the whole spectrum of traditional music, from a lone singer with a guitar or fiddle to a full band with electric guitar. He achieved that goal with Fiddler’s Green, which tends toward the intimate and traditional, and Cornbread Nation, which is more tempo-driven. On both albums, old-time songs share space with originals and classic country songs. In February 2006, Fiddler’s Green won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.

Though his solo career is defined mostly by folk music, O’Brien has also made his mark in bluegrass, having spent 12 years with the award-winning band Hot Rize. He also collaborated with some of Ireland’s best musicians to create two collections of original and traditional Celtic songs. All proceeds from his recent release Hands Across the Water go to support children affected by the 2004 tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia.

This artist appears in Jubilee #1118: Tim O’Brien.