Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott at The Station Inn: We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This

Monday, October 22, 2012 @ 01:10 PM
posted by MFG

Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott
Station Inn,
Nashville, Tennessee

October 9th, 2012
CD Release Party for We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This

I had the great pleasure of seeing two living legends of Americana music perform together earlier this month.  Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott are extraordinary musicians on their own, but when together on stage they create music so captivating and harmonies so compelling, you begin to wonder how they have ever been apart.  “We are trying a new strategy,” joked O’Brien, regarding the release of their new live album.  “We’re not touring together at all.”  The duo’s appearance at The Station Inn was one of just a handful this year, making it even more unique.

O’Brien, GRAMMY-winning mandolin player, described as “one of the spearheads of contemporary bluegrass,” is known on the festival circuit for his earlier groundbreaking work with Hot Rize and later work as a solo artist.  Scott, a GRAMMY-nominated performer, is best known for his aggressive guitar playing, rough and honest vocal style and success as one of the best country songwriters of his time.  Between the two of them, they have written major hits for Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Keb Mo, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Guy Clark, and Sam Bush.  Both are multi-instrumentalists, masters of mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bouzouki.

We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This, released the day of the Nashville show, is a live album recorded at the Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina.  The songs were recorded during two benefit concerts in 2005 and 2006 for their children’s school.  O’Brien and Scott brought most of the songs on the album to life at The Station Inn, including a chilling a capella version of Hank Williams’ “House of Gold,” the traditional song “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” originally recorded by blues artist Blind Willie Johnson (1928), and Scott’s rendition of Keith Whitley’s “You Don’t Have to Move That Mountain.”

The two highlights of the night for me were O’Brien’s originals “More Love” (the opening song of the set) and “Walk Beside Me,” actually both recorded on the previous O’Brien/Scott album, Real Time.    Scott’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” medley finale had all of us on our feet for the first of two standing ovations.

By that point, I was happy to stand up, as I realized I hadn’t moved from my chair once during the 3-hour performance that seemed like 15 minutes.  I quickly posted on Facebook: “This is one of the best live shows I have ever seen.  I don’t want it to end.”  And I secretly hoped that somehow I could stay at The Station Inn all night, maybe all week, being transported by Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott’s timeless musical magic.

The thing is that it’s not like they are performing.  They are opening a window into a whole different world, where time does not exist, tradition and innovation unite, and our history, our ancestors live forever.  What I heard (and felt) was their insatiable passion for music that has defied tobacco farming, the rural hardships of West Virginia, the challenges of raising a family, the responsibilities of being a husband, the loss of parents and the despondence of a life on the road, away from the home that they love.  Their music is a passion and a calling that spans generations, reaching through our walls and barriers to remind us that at anytime, we too, can return home.

I can’t imagine that they are ever “Usually A Lot Better Than This.”  I do highly recommend picking up BOTH of their recent albums: Real Time and We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This.

Visit www.darrellscott.com and www.timobrien.net for all the details.

- Robyn



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