Back in 2000, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott joined forces to record “Real Time,” which became widely acclaimed on release and has since become recognized as a towering achievement in Americana annals.
Following that album, O’Brien and Scott became an in-demand touring act, hitting the road together whenever their schedules allowed.
Performances from shows in 2005 and 2006 were gathered on “Live: We’re Usually a Lot Better Than This,” released last year on Scott’s “Full Light” as a way of whetting fans’ appetites for their new studio album, “Memories and Moments.”
Over the ensuing years, each has been asked when their paths would next cross.
The duo will take the stage together Saturday, Jan. 25 for the final performance of January Jams.
Each January, the Abingdon Music Experience hosts a month of concerts, which take place at Barter Theatre’s main stage.
All concerts begin at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7:15 p.m.
Tickets for this weekend’s performance are $49.
Singer/songwriter Amythyst Kiah, a local favorite, will open for O’Brien and Scott. Kiah fuses traditional roots music with a contemporary style.
O’Brien, born in 1954 in Wheeling, W.Va., is an American country and bluegrass musician. In addition to singing, he plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bouzouki and mandocello.
To date, he has released more than 10 studio albums, in addition to charting a duet with Kathy Mattea titled “The Battle Hymn of Love,” a No. 9 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks — now Hot Country Songs — charts in 1990.
In November 2013, O’Brien was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
Born on a tobacco farm in London, Ky., in 1959 and raised in East Gary, Ind., Scott was part of a musical family. His father Wayne, a steelworker by trade but a songwriter in his heart, moved his clan to Southern California when Scott was 11. Soon, Scott and his brothers — Denny, Dale, Don and David — were part of their dad’s band, getting on-the-job training in country music as they played its hits on the stages of roadhouses and taverns as far north as Alaska.
Scott eventually left the band and California, paying some more musical dues in Toronto and in Boston and earning a degree in poetry from nearby Tufts University, where he also studied literature.
With his lyric skills sharpened and his abilities on guitars, banjo and other instruments already road-tested, Scott followed his muse to country music’s Ground Zero, Nashville. His key to entering Music Row’s inner circles was, at first, his string-slinging skills. Starting in 1992, he appeared on albums by alternative country mavericks Guy Clark (for whom he later produced two CDs) and Steve Earle, Randy Travis, Patty Loveless and dozens more.
As his “day job” as a picker flourished, Scott channeled his other creative energies into his own songwriting and recordings. By the time he had released his debut CD, “Aloha From Nashville” in 1997, its follow-up “Family Tree” in 1999 and “Real Time” — a duo album with “newgrass” trailblazer O’Brien — in 2000, Scott’s original songs were much in demand by singers looking for more than “big hat” bragging or slick country-pop.
Scott’s compositions became highlights of albums by Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Kathy Mattea, Maura O’Connell and even his mentor, Guy Clark. The Dixie Chicks’ recording of “Long Time Gone” from “Real Time” was not only a hit for the Chicks but also garnered a 2003 Grammy nomination for “Best Country Song.”
“The Second Mouse,” a Scott/O’Brien tune from “Real Time,” was a Grammy finalist for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2001. That same year, Scott was named Songwriter of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, an honor repeated by ASCAP in 2002.
In 2003, Scott launched his own label, Full Light Records, and his first move as owner was to produce a traditional, mountain country album for his father, “This Weary Way,” that finally showcased the elder Scott’s original songs.
For the past two years, Scott has been the “artist in residence” with Orchestra Nashville.
For tickets or more information, call Barter’s box office at (276) 628-3991.