Grammy-winner Tim O’Brien has a released a new video for "Bear" premiering today at Bluegrass Today; it's the second single from O'Brien's upcoming album, Cup of Sugar, and will be available on all streaming services starting this Friday, May 10; you can pre-save the single HERE. Bluegrass Today comments on O'Brien's well-known sense of humor and droll wit, both in evidence in this song about a frustrated, jazz-playing bear who just can't get no respect. It's one of the 13 original tracks on O'Brien's next album release, Cup of Sugar out June 16th on Howdy Skies Records. O'Brien shares, "In the 46 years I’ve been recording, this is my very first release of all original material."
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR "BEAR" HERE
PRE-ORDER/PRE-SAVE THE SINGLE HERE
PRE-ORDER/ PRE-SAVE CUP OF SUGAR HERE
O'Brien shares the story behind the song: “The songs for Cup of Sugar started with "Bear." It was December of 2021, and the news was all about Russia and would Putin invade Ukraine. I had just read a book on the history of dancing bears. White Nationalism was a prominent topic, the flip side being Black Lives Matter. Trump had lost the election but was ramping up his spoiled brat act. I could imagine the gripes Putin, Trump, and the White Nationalists had, even if I didn’t agree.
"I’d also reread some of a favorite book by Rafi Zabor: The Bear Goes Home. In the plot this guy in NYC wins a dancing bear in a card game, and after he gets busted trying to busk with it, he leaves the bear in his flat during work. One day he comes home and the bear’s talking and playing clarinet. The bear becomes a jazz sensation but he’s also the ultimate outsider.
"So I was thinking about all that. I think the bear represents anyone or any social group that feels their world has changed too much while they weren’t looking. The bear comes out of his cave in spring and all the trees are cut down. He’s just pissed off. ‘I’m a bear,’ he cries, ‘but damn it, I’m more than that.’
I can identify with the bear because I’m old. I don’t relate to a lot of new stuff and while I do fairly well in spite of all the changes, sometimes I’ll swear at them.”
Cup of Sugar is Tim’s first album of all original songs — 13 new tracks about a bear, a fish, lambs, horses and some people too — a grave digger, a neighbor, and even Walter Cronkite. O'Brien is backed by his loyal band mates Mike Bub, Shad Cobb and wife Jan Fabricius, supplemented by Jamie Dick on drums, Mike Rojas on keyboards, Russ Pahl on steel guitar, and Cory Walker on banjo. Bluegrass icon Del McCoury lends his signature guitar and tenor vocal on “Let the Horses Run.” Co-writers include Ronnie Bowman, Jonathon Byrd, Shawn Camp, Jan Fabricius, and Thomm Jutz.
Sounding more and more like himself, O’Brien will debut the new material from Cup of Sugar at the 50th annual Telluride Bluegrass festival on June 17. Please to to go to www.timobrien.net for updates.
# Tim O’Brien Band
^ Tim O’Brien with Jan Fabricius
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