Dirty Linen - 10-11/99, p.68
"...he's been able to gather an outstanding group of musical friends to join the journey....the music, traditional and new, is about the experience and the courage of the westward moving immigrants who set out from Ireland..."
Personnel includes: Tim O'Brien (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandola, mandolin, fiddle); Maura O'Connell, Del McCoury, Kathy Mattea, Mollie O'Brien (vocals); Paul Brady (vocals, guitar); Darrell Scott (guitar); Jerry Douglas (Hawaiian guitar); Kelly Joe Phelps (slide guitar); Seamus Egan (tenor banjo, flute, low whistle, bodhran); Dirk Powell (clawhammer banjo); Earl Scruggs (banjo); Ciaran Curran (bouzouki); Darol Anger (mandola); Mike Marshall (mandocello); Ciaran Tourish (fiddle, penny whistle); Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (fiddle, background vocals); Stuart Duncan, Frankie Gavin (fiddle); John Mock (low whistle, percussion); Ronan Browne (Uilleann pipes); Dermot Byrne (accordion); Viktor Krauss (bass); Edgar Meyer (arco bass).
Recorded at Trace Sound, Franklin, Tennessee; Gatorland, Oakland, California; DeVille, Boulder, Colorado. Includes liner notes by Tim O'Brien.
It might be a clich‚ to say that to understand where you are and where you're going, you must know where you've been, but it's a very accurate clich‚ -- especially when it comes to music. If you're going to have a thorough understanding of the history of country, bluegrass, and Anglo-American folk, it's important to have some knowledge of the music that paved the way for those forms -- namely, the music that immigrants from the British Isles brought with them to the U.S. On The Crossing, singer/instrumentalist Tim O'Brien does a fine job reminding listeners how great a role Celtic music played in the development of Anglo-American styles. As a vocalist, O'Brien shows how Irish and Scottish ballad traditions have influenced American folk and country, and as an instrumentalist, O'Brien (who plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and other instruments) shows how the jigs and reels of Ireland and Scotland paved the way for Appalachian bluegrass. A fine storyteller, he describes the experiences of Irish immigrants to the U.S. on gems like "The Crossing" and "Lost Little Children" -- and on the humorous, Bob Dylan-influenced "Talkin' Cavan," O'Brien (himself an Irish-American from West Virginia) recalls traveling to Ireland in 1998 to visit the land of his ancestors. This CD is not to be missed. ~ Alex Henderson