by Tim O'Brien


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Traveler arrives like some horseman from the dusty past. His news is blunt, if not apocalyptic, with warnings that the future promises only "rotting flesh and broken bone." His chaps are stained with blood shed during the Civil War, and the trail he's followed from then until now runs alongside the Mississippi before melting into "a road without end" that winds back toward where our memories began. O'Brien lays all this out with help from some impressive players, but even the often incendiary Béla Fleck joins with them in toning down the fireworks and creating evocative settings through the most minimal gestures -- a slow-motion guitar arpeggio, a keening fiddle, a note here or there to complement O'Brien's relaxed delivery. It's significant, perhaps, that the album opens with "Kelly Joe's Shoes," an ode to a pair of beat-up sneakers that gave O'Brien some pretty good mileage, and ends with "Less & Less," which celebrates the joys of moving through life with as little baggage as possible. From music through message, Traveler just about gets it right.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/12/2003
Label: Sugarhill
UPC: 0015891397825
catalogNumber: 3978
Rank: 150363

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim O'Brien   Primary Artist,Bouzouki,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals
Jerry Douglas   Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Resonator)
Edgar Meyer   Bass
Ray Bonneville   Harmonica,Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Dennis Crouch   Bass
John Doyle   Bouzouki,Guitar
Béla Fleck   Banjo
Kenny Malone   Percussion
Jonell Mosser   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Dirk Powell   Banjo,Bass,Piano,Accordion
Darrell Scott   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Jon Randall Stewart   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Casey Driessen   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Ray Bonneville   Composer
Tim O'Brien   Composer,Producer
Gary Paczosa   Engineer,Engineering
Darrell Scott   Composer

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Traveler 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time - 49:46 Tim O'Brien has done some traveling in his days, and this album contains a nice collection of eclectic material inspired by his many journeys. Originally from West Virginia, O'Brien now calls Nashville his home. Along the way, he's picked with The Hutchinson Brothers, The Ophelia String Band, Hot Rize (1979-1990), his own group The O'Boys, in a duo with his sister Mollie, The Flattheads, and New Grange. This solo album, with many excellent accompanists, has a couple key strengths besides O'Brien's mandolin, guitar, bouzouki and singing. I've always been a big fan of O'Brien's eclectic and unique Americana sound that incorporates elements of bluegrass, folk, old-time, country and Cajun music. He once described his musical style as "weirdcountry, electro-acoustic, folk-beat, walkin-the-line between-several-genres acoustic music that rocks a bit, but you understand the words." On this project, the tasteful flavorings of Dirk Powell's accordion and Ray Bonneville's harmonica provide an especially nice coloring. Other standout and noteworthy instrumental work comes from Casey Driessen (fiddle), Bela Fleck (banjo on "Another Day"), Jerry Douglas (lap steel or resophonic guitar on two cuts). Percussionist Kenny Malone and bassist Dirk Powell are also rock solid in laying down a rhythmic groove throughout. O'Brien, the singer/songwriter, contributed or collaborated on eleven of the twelve songs on Traveler. Only "I've Endured" (by David Arthur Reed and Ola Belle Reed) is a cover. His songsmith collaborators include Lucas Reynolds ("Turn the Page Again"), Darrell Scott ("Another Day"), Ray Bonneville ("Forty-Nine Keep on Talkin'"), Allesandro Massa ("Travelers"). O'Brien's partnership with Darrell Scott has been fruitful during recent years, and in 2000, they toured and released an instrumental Grammy-nominated album, "The Second Mouse." With recorded hits by Kathy Mattea, Hal Ketchum, Garth Brooks and others, it's clear that this artist follows a strong and inspirational lyrical and melodic muse. All lyrics are included in the CD's jacket. Read 'em, pay attention to 'em, because O'Brien's got some profound things to say. As he sings, "we are but travelers on a road without end," let's hope that he'll find those signs that he is searching for. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)