Consisting of four master instrumentalists, The O’Connor Band is all family — Grammy and CMA Award-winning Mark O’Connor (violin); Mark’s wife, Maggie (violin); his son Forrest (mandolin); and Forrest’s fiancé, Kate Lee (violin). ‘Coming Home,’ their 12-track debut album on Rounder Records, enters the Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart at No. 1 this week.
The album opens with guest guitarist Joe Smart’s bright arpeggios on the Jim Shirey-penned tune “Always Do,” followed by a lively triple-fiddle-fueled “Coming Home” and a rousing version of the old Osborne Brothers hit “Ruby, Are You Mad at Your Man?” After weaving traditional country and progressive bluegrass throughout, the record closes with the instrumental “Fiddler Going Home.”
“I’ve recorded on at least 500 albums,” O’Connor says, “but I have to say, there are very few, if any, that I’ve been as proud of as this O’Connor Band album. With the help of Grammy winners Gregg Field [co-producer] and Neal Cappellino [chief engineer], we’re bridging the gap between progressive bluegrass, country, and indie folk and yet creating something that is also very commercially viable.”
The shows on The O’Connor Band’s current tour feature the four family members, Smart (guitar), and Geoff Saunders (double bass). They also include a rollicking rewrite of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” as a set-closer. For a full list of dates, please visit oconnorband.com/tour.