Tim O'Brien

When No One's Around

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This is one of Tim O'Brien's most engaging projects. Known as a writer, he chooses here to co-write with others, including sister Mollie O'Brien, Hal Ketchum, and the elusive Danny O'Keefe. The songs range from celebratory ("Out On the Rolling Sea") to sardonic ("How Come I Ain't Dead") to reflective ("First Days of Fall"). In spite of his attempts to the contrary, O'Brien is still his own best writer, with kudos especially to "Think About Last Night" and "First Days of Fall." The feel of this music is more mainstream country than some of his other albums. The players are quite good, with high praise for drummer John Gardner for his accents and exclamation marks.

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