Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Album Review: Memories And Moments by Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott

On their new CD, Memories And Monents, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott are taking Country music where it’s always been before. With two voices, two stringed instruments, and nothing else, these two songmasters distill the essence of Country music. Visualize a corner store in a small Appalachian town on a Friday night in a time before TV. Picture a crowd of townspeople gathered around two bearded troubadours on the porch of the store as they begin to play. Now imagine the songs of love and loss, hopes and dreams, quilts and plows, coal mines and churches being played back to the people whose lives inspired them. That is what Memories And Moments sounds like.

Although O’Brien and Scott alternated songwriting duties, the songs and voices flow together as if from a common experience. With heavy bluegrass influences, the lyrics and music take you back to a simpler, but perhaps more profound time. On the lead track, “Time To Talk To Joseph”, they sing, “There’s too many trails to follow, and it seems the only way is to dive into the darkness that leaves me in the day. But don’t you worry ‘bout me darlin’ I’m coming back again. My spirit will be stronger from a power deep within.” Clearly they’re seeking a level of feeling and understanding that runs deeper than today’s reality TV culture. Like their music, their lyrics distill simple, yet profound truths. In “It All Comes Down To Love,” they note that “the thing about a broken heart - the remedy’s the same as the breakin’.  Tell us all what we already know: It all comes down to love.” Simple but true.

And so the album plays on, each song conjuring up another image from our collective past. Like a pair of Bob Dylans in coveralls, they evoke a mood that transcends the notes and words on the page. As they sing in “Fiddler Jones,” “The earth gives us music. It’s there in your heart. If you’re lucky you feel it coming in from the start. You hear it, it hears you. You trust and obey. Wherever it leads you, you won’t go astray.” And in this quest to revisit the roots of Country music, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott definitely do not go astray.