TIM O’BRIEN

What is your name and role within the band?

El Jefe, sole proprietor.

How did you start?

With a 30 dollar guitar and a Beatles songbook.

Where are you based?

Nashville Tennessee, USA.

Please give an example of your music writing process?

I take notes on various scraps of paper, then I put them into a big pile and sort through them, usually a lot later. But the best songs come out, lyrics and music, all at once. In those cases the subject matter is usually something I’ve thought about a lot, then some little phrase unlocks it into a song.

What are you working on right now?

My old Bluegrass band Hot Rize is looking for new material, so I was just getting a few demos together for consideration.

What is your gear setup?

I have mini condenser mics and piezo pickups on my guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. I use DTAR preamps which mixes the two signals into one that’s user friendly to the front of house engineer.

What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?

I like to cook and study history. Cooking can be creative in much the same way as writing a song or playing a set. What is available and how should I use it? History often mirrors our current day situation so it helps to inform the songs.

How would you describe your music genre?

They call it Americana, but it’s a grab bag of folk music updated for modern heads and hands.

Do you know any music theory?

I know more music theory than I really need to know. A lot of times the music is better when the rules and laws are subtly broken.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ll keep working this music, I hope to eventually get it right.

How did you get into music?

Music always rang in my head long after it would stop, so I guess I took up stringed instruments to help it keep ringing longer. Before I ever played an instrument, I would sing harmony quietly beside my sister in church and she’d look at me funny. The sound just seemed to ask for it.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I like David Olney’s new record and I’ve been on a Mose Alison jag since his passing.

Who are your top 5 influences and icons?

Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Count Basie, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder.

When are you playing next?

June 4 in Ogden Utah.

Please feel free to include any extra info.

timobrien.net

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