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Bluegrass legend Tim O’Brien to lead all-star concert line-up

Eclectic “Fleadh Band” to wow audience at Cavan Town Hall Show, Saturday 20th August


Fleadh goers with a soft spot for music with plenty of flare and spontaneity should mark the 10pm slot on Saturday 20th August in their diaries, and be sure to book tickets for the ‘Arts Council Eclectic Concert’ — a must-be-seen show with American bluegrass wizard Tim O’Brien, flute and pipes maestro Mike McGoldrick, and a top-notch “Fleadh Band” made up of multi-genre guitar genius Arty McGlynn, widely acclaimed upcoming singer Heidi Talbot, revered bodhran specialist John Joe Kelly and Scottish fiddling firebrand John McCusker.

The show at Cavan Town Hall will also feature a generous helping of home-bred banjo virtuosity from Cavan’s own master of the four strings, Darren Maloney, who’ll be launching his eagerly awaited second CD, Complicated, with some nifty backing from guitarist Joe Brennan.

Added to the mix for this highlight of Fleadh 2011 will be songs and tunes from singer/guitarist Paul Jermyn, another true Breffni blue, and there’ll be no surprises if the host for the night, the evergreen Charlie McGettigan, throws in a few songs of his own!

What all this means is that if ever there was a time to heed the advice to book early (details below) this is it! With a limited capacity of 260 at the intimate Town Hall venue, it’s as sure as night follows day that tickets for this all-star line-up will be at a premium — and snapped up faster than a bluegrass banjo lick!

Tim O’Brien is a multi-instrumentalist master of the mandolin, guitar, fiddle, bouzouki and banjo who has toured and recorded with top musicians across the globe and is considered nothing less than a “national treasure” in American traditional music and bluegrass.

Drawing from many influences to create a unique blend of bluegrass, honky tonk, folk and swing with the award-winning band Hot Rize, O’Brien emerged in the 1980s as a bridge between traditional and modern bluegrass styles.

In 1999 he released his album The Crossing, an exploration of his Irish roots featuring top artists like Paul Brady, Altan and Earl Scruggs. It’s in a bid to re-capture the unique essence of this groundbreaking recording that he has gathered some of friends  — who happen to be some of the finest trad musicians Ireland, Scotland and England have ever produced — for this trip back to Erin and the All-Ireland Fleadh in Cavan.

Indeed, the Cavan show will mark a homecoming of sorts for Tim, whose great grandfather, Thomas O’Brien, emigrated from just outside Kingscourt to Wheeling, West Virginia (Tim’s hometown) in 1851. It was a visit to the old homeplace in 1998 that inspired him to write the ditty, Talkin’ Cavan. The song includes a “nearly true” account of his stay at a local hotel, not to mention his failure to inspire a shop attendant to show any interest in his hunt for long lost relatives! Sadly, Tim fears that what remained of the old family cottage at Muff is no longer standing.

A perennial favorite at bluegrass and roots festivals around the world, Tim O’Brien has toured extensively in the US, Europe, Japan, South America, Australia, and New Zealand, has featured on television broadcasts like ‘Grand Ole Opry’ and BBC’s ‘Transatlantic Sessions,’ and has recorded with many world-renowned acts ranging from The Chieftains to movie star Steve Martin.

He is also a prolific and celebrated songwriter, with recorded hits by Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Kathy Mattea and others.

On top of that, O’Brien has worked on the soundtracks for a number of movies, including Cold Mountain, and is an in-demand record producer for many fellow musicians.

With a CV like that, it’s small wonder they call him a national treasure

Permalink - Posted: July 18, 2011 at 9:40 am