Multi-Grammy award winner Tim O’Brien and his wife Jan Fabricius have performed together since 2015. In a duet setting with guitar, mandolin, fiddle and their two voices, they bring an intimate and warm acoustic music roots repertoire that’s at once both original and traditional. Tonight’s show is a reunion of sorts with Irish traditional icons Steve Cooney and Dermot Byrne joining the duo on guitar and accordion. Both Byrne and Cooney contributed to O’Brien’s Celtic flavored releases “The Crossing” and “Two Journeys” in the early 2000’s and have appeared with him at live performances over the years.
Singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist O’Brien, born in Wheeling WV in 1954, grew up singing and playing guitar in church and in school. After seeing Doc Watson on TV, he became a lifelong devotee of old time and bluegrass music. Co-founder of Colorado’s Hot Rize, he toured the world with that band from 1978 until he started his solo career in 1990. His songs have been covered by Kathy Mattea, Garth Brooks, and the Dixie Chicks, and his collaborators onstage and in the studio include Arty McGlynn, Darrell Scott, Dirk Powell, Mark Knopfler, and Sturgill Simpson. Awarded Grammy’s in both the Folk and Bluegrass categories, he is a member of both the West Virginia and the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Jan Fabricius grew up in WaKeeney, Ks. and sang from an early age in church and school, taking up clarinet and then mandolin. A registered nurse and mother of two, she kept her hand in music through local jams and regional bluegrass festivals while raising her family. Jan’s collaborations with O’Brien started informally around their Nashville home as he wrote or learned new songs, and she soon found herself singing and playing mandolin in the studio and onstage. O’Brien’s 2021 release “He Walked On”, and his upcoming release “Cup of Sugar” feature original songs cowritten by Tim and Jan. The two were married in 2021.
Dermot Byrne shot to fame as a child prodigy on the accordion in his native Donegal, and is still considered one of the finest accordion players in the tradition, with that sought-after combination of musical virtuosity and sensitivity. He toured for many years with Donegal trad band Altan. He has lived in and around Co. Clare for many years. As well as the Irish folk tradition, he also dips into European and global accordion repertoires.
Steve Cooney is best known for his development of an influential style of guitar accompaniment to Irish dance music which he developed in West Kerry, and for which he won the National Entertainment Award with Séamus Begley in 1997. Despite participating in the making of over 250 albums, he only recently released his first ever solo CD – to huge critical acclaim – of solo guitar interpretations of ancient harp tunes, Ceol Ársa Cláirsí. In 2020 he was given the RTÉ Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.