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Artist of the Month for December 2002: Tim O'Brien

Name: Tim O'Brien
Age: 48
Town: Nashville
Hometown: Wheeling WV

At what age did you start playing guitar? 12
First guitar: Harmony Stella

Early Influences: Peter, Paul and Mary; The Beatles; Roger Miller

First gig: Janet Jepson's wedding. I was paid the sum total of pewter beer mug. I was 14.

Acoustic Guitars you own: Gibson J-50, circa 1959 - Martin OO-18, circa 1937

Favorite Guitar: I go back and forth between the two. I want to get a dreadnaught again, maybe a 12 fret slotted peg head Martin

Your Style, and how you developed it: I play fingerstyle in the Travis style, and flatpick in a sort of Watson or Blake style. But really, the guitar is my second or third instrument anymore. When I was coming up, there were so many guitar players, I decided I should learn another instrument to make it easier to get a gig. That lead to the fiddle, the mandolin, and the bouzouki. Since I'm known for playing mandolin mostly, I usually have a guitarist playing with me. I've had some of the best in bluegrass and acoustic music - Scott Nygaard, Jeff White, Bryan Sutton, David Grier, Jim Hurst, and lately John Doyle.

Practice Regimen: I put the guitar on a stand in my office and grab as I go by from time to time. When I haven't been gigging for a while, I'll make a point of getting the instrument in my hands for at least 30 minutes a day for several days beforehand. That attitude gets a little more serious when I'm about to make a recording. When that's looming, I practice the new material regularly for weeks ahead of time.

Favorite Artist(s): A few are Ry Cooder, Bill Monroe, Greg Brown, Duke Ellington.

Is there anything else you want people to know about you, your playing style or your views on today's music in general?
I think an artist has a responsibilty to do something honest and true, and to try to help things get better. At the very least, I want to be responsive to my audience. My own personal job seems to be to link the past to the present with the music. I've felt liberated in recent years by the realization that you can't be exactly like those that went before, but you also can't do anything startlngly new either. Swallow those two ideas, and you're free to just be yourself. My advise is do the best you can, and do it as clearly as possible.

Visit Tim's website at www.timobrien.net. You'll find a lot more information about Tim and plenty of soundclips for your enjoyment.

AOTM Archives:

August 2008 - Danny Combs
March 2006 - Bryan Clark
Februry 2006 - Darin Leong
January 2006 - Andy McKee
December 2005 - Don Alder
November 2005 - Doug Young
October 2005 - Nancy Conescu
August - September 2005 - Warren Greig
July 2005 - Ian Melrose
June 2005 - Roger Lasley
May 2005 - Jim Tozier
April 2005 - Jessica Papkoff
March 2005 - Todd Habekost
February 2005 - Michael Hewett
January 2005 - Steve Barney
December 2004 - Tony McManus
November 2004 - Chris Newman
October 2004 - Kevin Kastning
September 2004 - Rick Duke
August 2004 - El McMeen
June-July 2004 - Charles David Alexander
May 2004 - Tony Capri
April 2004 - Shane Simpson
March 2004 - Bill Cooley
February 2004 - Greg Meckes
January 2004 - Gary Leek
December 2003 - Ernie Hawkins
November 2003 - Keith Knight
October 2003 - Jaquie Gipson
September 2003 - Chuck Durfor
August 2003 - Cathy Horner
July 2003 - Art Edelstein
June 2003 - Muriel Anderson
May 2003 - Clarelynn Rose
March-April 2003 - Steve Wildey
February 2003 - Rick Ruskin
January 2003 - Kerry Kling
December 2002 - Tim O'Brien
November 2002 - Howard Emerson
October 2002 - Dennis Roger Reed
September 2002 - Larry Pattis
August 2002 - Paul Asbell
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