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Tim O'Brien

When No One's Around – 1997 (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Tim O'Brien

A former member of the bluegrass band, Hot Rize and its alter ego band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, Tim O'Brien is a talented and versatile singer and instrumentalist. He's written hit songs for Kathy Mattea and others. His last record, "Red on Blond," was a tribute to Bob Dylan.

With this new record, the spotlight is on O'Brien's immense songwriting abilities, which continues to get him noticed. Garth Brooks plans to include the album's title cut on his next record. All songs are originals, save for the traditional, "Out on a Rolling Sea," although O'Brien did supply some additional words. He is not just another writer. His songs have soul, and tend to stick with you. "I Love the Way You Cook." is a wonderfully seductive love song. "Love Is Pleasin'" has a nice traditional sound to it, featuring just voice and fiddle. "Love And Laughter," takes a poignant look at young love. He addresses some social issues in "Think About Last Night," and the very powerful, "Don't Be Surprised (Mary and Joseph on Christmas Eve)." O'Brien continues to evolve as an artist. His music is rarely predictable and always enjoyable.