Fiddler's Green

Fiddler's Green

4.0 1
by Tim O'Brien
     
 

In his liner notes, Tim O'Brien offers the best summary possible of his engaging Fiddler's Green album, calling it "intimate music, good for a quiet evening or morning at home. A few solos, a duet, and some spare acoustic ensembles." He's accompanied by many of the same musicians featured on Cornbread Nation, released at the same time as this project;…  See more details below

Overview

In his liner notes, Tim O'Brien offers the best summary possible of his engaging Fiddler's Green album, calling it "intimate music, good for a quiet evening or morning at home. A few solos, a duet, and some spare acoustic ensembles." He's accompanied by many of the same musicians featured on Cornbread Nation, released at the same time as this project; notable additions are Nickel Creek's mandolin virtuoso, Chris Thile, on two cuts (including a featured role with a nimble, dancing solo that illuminates a yearning treatment of Gordon Lightfoot's beautiful "Early Morning Rain") and bassist nonpareil Edgar Meyer, whose sonorous acro bass provides the dirgelike bottom for O'Brien's keening vocal and fiddle on the duet "Foreign Lander." O'Brien puts his plainspoken tenor to good use on two solo numbers, his expressive vocal and driving acoustic guitar work enhancing the drama of the venerable Old West tale "Buffalo Skinners," just as his high, longing fiddle lines and deliberate, plaintive cry draw out the gothic chill in the old spiritual "A Few More Years." On an album filled with moments of inestimable beauty and heartrending tragedy, one song, "Fair Flowers Of the Valley," exemplifies the apex of both attributes. A murder ballad, its winsome Irish melody is rendered transcendent on the strength of sensitive, ethereal contributions courtesy Seamus Egan on low whistle, John Mock on harmonium, and John Doyle on bouzouki. Their piercing expressiveness could not be a more heartfelt complement to Tim and Molly O'Brien's emotional harmonizing. Like Cornbread Nation, Fiddler's Green is the work of inspired, gifted craftsmen led by O'Brien's restless intellect; collectively, their instrumental dialogue with each other is stimulating and, more to the point, always in service to each song's flesh-and-blood narrative. It amounts to a double triumph for an artist feeling his oats.

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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. Fiddler's Green gives birth to the more conservative side of his neo-traditional core while still allowing him to delve into Celtic and Appalachian folk, bluegrass, and old-timey. Much of the material here, as on Cornbread Nation, is traditional, featuring well-worn icons like "Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden" and "Buffalo Skinners." As one might guess, the arrangements are fairly low-key, featuring simple banjo/guitar/mandolin setups with a few odds and ends -- bouzouki, flutes, and percussion -- thrown in to keep things interesting. The performances on Fiddler's Green are well wrought but, perhaps because of the conservative nature of the project, a bit stolid. "Buffalo Skinners" proceeds at a steady pace for over five minutes, and O'Brien, despite his fine vocal, really doesn't bring anything new to this Western saga. This is far different than his radical reworking of "Little Sadie" on 2000's Real Time with Darrell Scott. Oddly, some of the liveliest tracks, "Train on the Island" and Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," don't surface until the last third of the album. Fans will more than likely find Fiddler's Green enjoyable if not revelatory, while skeptics will wonder if O'Brien should've taken the best cuts from both releases and made one great album.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2005
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891400624
catalogNumber:
4006
Rank:
78585

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim O'Brien   Primary Artist,Banjo,Bouzouki,Fiddle,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Guitar (Resonator),Guest Appearance
Edgar Meyer   Bass,Guest Appearance
Don Cobb   Guest Appearance
Dennis Crouch   Bass,Bass Guitar
John Doyle   Bouzouki,Guitar,Guest Appearance
Dan Dugmore   Steel Guitar
Stuart Duncan   Banjo,Fiddle,Guest Appearance
Kenny Malone   Drums,Tambourine
John Mock   Concertina,Harmonia
Mollie O'Brien   Vocals
Dirk Powell   Banjo,Bass,Guest Appearance
Darrell Scott   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Dan Tyminski   Guitar,Vocals
Kenny Vaughan   Guitar
Charlie Cushman   Banjo
Chris Thile   Mandolin
Casey Driessen   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Seamus Egan   Whistle
Gordon Lightfoot   Composer
Don Cobb   Mastering
Pete Goble   Composer
Tim O'Brien   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Gary Paczosa   Engineer
Danny Dill   Composer
Sue Meyer   Illustrations
Eric Conn   Mastering
Traditional   Composer
Kit Swaggert   Artwork
Marijohn Wilkin & The Jacks   Composer

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Fiddler's Green 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this album quite a bit. Some of the songs are timeless. a great addition to any collection