Thirteen years ago, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott teamed up for Real Time, an album of twangy duets, Hank Williams covers and stripped-down Americana originals. More than a decade later, they’re getting back into the collaborative spirit with Memories & Moments . The self-produced record was tracked in three days, with the musicians strumming their way through ten original tunes, one timely version of John Prine’s “Paradise” (with Prine guesting on guitar and harmony vocals), and a pair of covers by Hank Williams and George Jones.
Things have been busy for O’Brien and Scott. They’ve toured the country together. They’ve had their songs covered by the Dixie Chicks, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks and Brad Paisley. O’Brien joined Mark Knopfler’s live band and won a Grammy for his own traditional folk album, Fiddler’s Green, while Scott teamed up with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy after writing “Hank Williams’ Ghost,” which was named the 2007 Americana Song of the Year.
With Memories & Moments , the musicians shine a light on their shared Appalachian roots, drawing on influences like the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers. They sing like brothers — check out the close harmonies on their version of Hank Williams’ “Alone and Forsaken” — even get a little political at times, particularly during “Keep Your Dirty Lights On,” an environmentally-minded song that rails against mountaintop removal. It’s a sound that Scott describes as “bigger than the sum of our parts, and our parts are pretty good to begin with.”
Stream the full thing here, a month before the album’s September 17 release.