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Tim O’Brien set to kick off Jonesborough

World famous singer and musician Tim O’Brien set to kick off the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee October 3rd at 7:30 pm

JONESBOROUGH, Tennessee (August 7th, 2013) – The staff and board of directors of the International Storytelling Center are excited to announce that world famous singer and musician Tim O’Brien will headline an evening of music during the kickoff of the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee on Thursday, October 3rd at 7:30 pm.
Growing up in Wheeling, West Virginia, O’Brien was surrounded by classic country and bluegrass music first, subsequently augmented by the revolutionary folk music of the era, including Bob Dylan, whom O’Brien paid tribute to on the acclaimed 1996 release Red On Blonde. While his sister (and occasional collaborator) Mollie took piano lessons, O’Brien pursued guitar and banjo on his own, eventually adding mandolin and fiddle to his arsenal by the time he left for college. Dropping out of a northeastern liberal arts college after a year, O’Brien headed west, eventually settling in Boulder, Colorado, where a burgeoning, eccentric roots music scene was forming. Following a stint in the endearingly ramshackle Ophelia Swing Band, O’Brien co-founded the bluegrass band Hot Rize in 1978, with guitarist Charles Sawtelle, bassist Nick Forster, and banjo player Peter Wernick. Combining a healthy reverence for bluegrass tradition with a playfully postmodern sensibility, Hot Rize became a fan and festival favorite, recording a series of acclaimed albums for the Flying Fish and Sugar Hill labels until dissolving in 1990 – at which point O’Brien had already begun to establish himself as a solo artist.
O’Brien listens to bluegrass and hears the music’s roots in modal Irish ballads and vintage swing. He insightfully re-examines and reconstructs those styles, and many others, in his own music, throwing off new sparks by reawakening the tension and interplay of the colliding components at the heart of American music. “Over the years,” he explains, “my music has become a certain thing. Each time I go into the studio to make a new album, I could make an Irish record, or a bluegrass record, or a country record…but it seems artificial to sift anything out. I feel like I’d be leaving out something important. In the end, I just try to make it round…”
Joining O’Brien for the evening will be the always entertaining Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line. This group is no stranger to the area, having performed during Jonesborough’s Music on the Square.   The high energy, Nashville-based quintet performs Struthers’ original story-songs with tight, three-part harmonies, fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, acoustic guitar, bass, and drums.  Struthers was catapulted into the spotlight when she led her band to a blue ribbon at the prestigious 2010 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition (previous winners include Nickel Creek and The Dixie Chicks), and now her group is touring heavily in support of their latest release, Carnival.  Struthers’ songs are as steeped in American history, and as well crafted, as the beautiful vintage dresses she wears on stage. 
 “We look forward to having Tim O’Brien and Nora Jane and The Party Line provide entertainment for folks during our kickoff to the Storytelling Festival this year. Both Tim and Nora Jane have a strong songwriting and storytelling element to their performances.” said Susan O’Connor, Director of Programs for the International Storytelling Center.
Additional details on the performers, the Thursday evening event, and the National Storytelling Festival, including ticket information, can be found at www.storytellingcenter.net.

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