Cornbread Nation by Tim O'Brien | 15891400525 | CD | Barnes & Noble
Cornbread Nation

Cornbread Nation

by Tim O'Brien
     
 
Surrounding himself with a familiar cast of impeccable pros -- electric guitarist Kenny Vaughan, percussionist/drummer Kenny Malone, bassist Dennis Crouch, and fiddler Casey Driessen form the core of the ensemble, with guest spots from Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, and Dan Tyminski, among others -- bluegrass stalwart Tim O’Brien leads a cookout that trades heavily on

Overview

Surrounding himself with a familiar cast of impeccable pros -- electric guitarist Kenny Vaughan, percussionist/drummer Kenny Malone, bassist Dennis Crouch, and fiddler Casey Driessen form the core of the ensemble, with guest spots from Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, and Dan Tyminski, among others -- bluegrass stalwart Tim O’Brien leads a cookout that trades heavily on some freshly arranged traditional numbers, with a couple of hearty originals adding some spice to the recipe. O’Brien offers a rustic, haunting treatment of “House of the Risin’ Sun” made doubly effective by the restrained instrumental support of Charlie Cushman on banjo and Douglas on resophonic guitar. A lively dialogue between Vaughan, Duncan, and Dan Dugmore on pedal steel introduces O’Brien’s waltz take on Harlan Howard’s “Busted,” heretofore better known as a Johnny Cash evergreen. Vaughan, one of the best guitarists around, is especially affecting with his lovely, soft punctuation on the lovely country-western love ballad “The Foggy Foggy Dew,” done here as a slow shuffle with Sam Levine’s warm, sensuous solos on tenor sax augmenting an altogether captivating soundscape. O’Brien will not go down as one of the great country or bluegrass singers, but there’s a lot to be said for a personable tenor that makes a listener feel right at home -- when he cries out “Let’s go to huntin’!” in the jubilant “Let’s Go Huntin’ ” and enumerates the particulars of a scrumptious supper in the mild stomp that is “Cornbread Nation,” he’s talkin’ the talk as credibly as Doc Watson. Cornbread Nation doesn’t arrive with a lot of pre-release fanfare, but its sterling musicianship and heartwarming soul mark it as one of the year’s high-water marks in traditional music.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
In the early fall of 2005, Tim O'Brien simultaneously released two albums, Cornbread Nation and Fiddler's Green, on Sugar Hill. And while both dig deep into the fabric of American roots music, the albums also revealed O'Brien's split musical personality, a split that dates back to his work with Hot Rize/Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers during the 1980s. Cornbread Nation gives birth to the more expansive side of his neo-traditional core, allowing him to borrow from country and soul, and to meld instruments as varied as electric guitar and congas to a folk base. The opening cut, "Hold On," features an infectious hillbilly-rock beat, driven by Kenny Vaughan's electric guitar and Kenny Malone's rhythmic base, while the traditional "Moses" affects a gospel feel thanks to the presence of a small choir. "The Foggy Foggy Dew," on the other hand, co-opts a very mellow Western swing, while "Walkin' Boss" comes close -- save the presence of a drum kit -- to bluegrass. Eclecticism, then, rules the day on Cornbread Nation, with players and instruments changing from song to song. Far from scattered, though, the album is underpinned by the dominance of traditional songs like "House of the Rising Son" and "Boat Up the River." Further unity is provided by O'Brien's expressive vocals and exuberant performances by everyone involved. A couple of these songs, especially "Moses," are too long, and the O'Brien originals, like the title track, lack the fire that made his work with Darrell Scott so exciting on Real Time in 2000. Overall, though, O'Brien shows himself capable of adding to tradition on Cornbread Nation without stripping the raw authenticity from these old songs. Experienced with Fiddler's Green, the album represents O'Brien's continued exploration and updating of the best of American roots music.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2005
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891400525
catalogNumber:
4005
Rank:
134163

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim O'Brien   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Bouzouki,Fiddle,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Resonator)
Del McCoury   Vocals
Dennis Crouch   Bass,Bass Guitar
John Doyle   Guitar
Dan Dugmore   Steel Guitar
Stuart Duncan   Banjo,Fiddle
Sam Levine   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Kenny Malone   Drums,Tambourine
John Mock   Concertina
Mollie O'Brien   Vocals
Dirk Powell   Banjo,Bass,Accordion
Darrell Scott   Vocals
Dan Tyminski   Guitar,Vocals
Kenny Vaughan   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Charlie Cushman   Banjo
Chris Thile   Mandolin
Casey Driessen   Fiddle
Odessa Settles   Vocals
Todd Suttles   Vocals

Technical Credits

Seamus Egan   Whistle
Harlan Howard   Composer
Tim O'Brien   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Sue Meyer   Illustrations
Traditional   Composer
Kit Swaggert   Composer,Artwork

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