14 September 2022

Traveler: new biography of Tim O'Brien

This month the University of Oklahoma Press publishes Traveler: the musical odyssey of Tim O'Brien, by Bobbie Malone and Bill C. Malone, in its 'American Popular Music' series, as a book of 232 pages with twenty-two monochrome illustrations. It is available in hardcover at $26.95 and as an e-book at $21.95. More details and descriptions of the book are in Richard Thompson's feature on Bluegrass Today. Both authors are musicians as well as being respected biographers and historians; Bill C. Malone's works include Country music U.S.A. (1968; 3rd ed. 2010); Music from the true vine: Mike Seeger's life and musical journey (2011); and Working girl blues: the life and music of Hazel Dickens (with Hazel Dickens; 2008).

Tim O'Brien is prominent among a generation of musicians who have led a rapprochement between bluegrass and Irish music - two genres which in the 1940s and '50s did not seem particularly close. One of his own early visits to Ireland included playing with the Sackville String Band at Tailors' Hall, Dublin, in the late 1970s; later visits include tours with Hot Rize and leading his own Tim O'Brien Band; and his many musical connections with this island range from the 1999 album The crossing to 'Walking home to Wexford', his 2020 collaboration with Milan Miller.

© Richard Hawkins

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