Tim O'Brien's new solo release finds him in very fine voice and delightfully showcasing his skills on a variety of stringed instruments. In addition to being consistently tuneful, his voice has a warmth and richness which I found reminiscent of the great English Folk singer Roy Bailey. The 16 tracks on this album incorporate a broad range of traditions, including various shades of Country/Folk and Blues.
None of the songs themselves are startlingly, or even memorably, original. Tim is one of those artists who is a wonderful interpreter (this is appropriate when you think about it, given the album title) but is unlikely to be remembered as a songwriter. Hence only 4 stars. If you are in any way a fan of Americana, you will welcome this very listenable album to your collection - and you will be moved to seek him out live - but I doubt you will add any of the tracks to your list of classics.
If there's any justice in the recording industry (and I have my doubts) Chameleon is going to take the Best Folk Recording of 2008. "Chameleon" is a CD worth owning. Download tracks if you must, but this CD is of a whole, and it hits all the right notes. According to the liner notes, Tim O'Brien took his instruments (and he plays a lot of them at virtuoso level) and a bunch of song ideas into the woodshed and didn't come out until he had this recording. Time well spent. "Chameleon" … more
This is the first time that I've ever heard of Tim O'Brien. Listening to the snippets on the product page enticed me enough to give this album a shot through the Vine program. I was quite surprised. Take a little bit of folk, a little bit of bluegrass, add some straight-up hillbilly and a little politics and you have O'Brien's latest album, "Chameleon." Playing instruments that span a time period from 1922 to 2004, O'Brien peppers his traditional sounding tunes with some very modern topics. "Phantom … more
After initially planning to sample it a little and then settling back to get the full experience later, I couldn't let go. Best laid plans don't you know? More than an hour later, after two consecutive play throughs, my feet were still tapping. This is flat out enjoyable music, artfully performed and with just enough lyrical commentary to give it some serious bite. This was my first exposure to Tim O'Brien and it surely won't be my last. The musical marketing powers that be … more