Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott have teamed up again for their first collaboration since Real Time (2000).
And what good news that is, because their new album, Memories and Moments, oozes class. It is country/bluegrass/Americana – file it as you like – of the finest order, and the pair contribute five original songs. They also offer some stimulating covers, not least of Hank Williams’s Alone and Forsaken.
Scott (from Kentucky) and O’Brien (from West Virginia) are both skillful multi-instrumentalists and their voices and playing gel naturally, with nuance and feeling. The album sounds fresh – it was recorded in only three days – and includes the powerful environmental song Keep Your Dirty Lights On, the album’s sole joint composition. To complement that track, they also offer a moving version of Paradise, John Prine’s magnificent song about strip-mining (“the coal company come with the world’s largest shovel”) which features the peerless Prine on vocals and guitar. They also cover Just One More, the mournful drinking song by George Jones, who was himself an alcoholic.