Category: O

OBrien, Tim


  • From Wheeling, West Virginia. Lives in Nashville.
  • A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (primarily mandolin and fiddle) who rose to prominence with the Colorado-based group Hot Rize (1979-1990). Since then, he has performed as a solo artist and with his band The O’Boys. He has also toured and recorded with his sister Mollie O’Brien, Darrell Scott, New Grange, the Earls of Leicester and several other ensembles.
  • Early years: had a group in high school called the Northern Valley Boys (in high school). He also performed as a solo act in a pizza parlor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and spent some time as a member of the The Hutchison Brothers, an Ohio group. After moving to Colorado, he worked with a group called Ophelia Swing Band.
  • He plays the role of Red Knuckles in the Hot Rize western band “Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers.”
  • 1984, released Hard Year Blues album (Flying Fish).
  • 1990, sang duo with Kathy Mattea on “The Battle Hymn of Love” a #1 record.
  • Has also sung and played on albums by Mary Chapin Carpenter.
  • 1990, signed by RCA Records but was subsequently dropped due to budget cuts by the label before his first album was released.
  • 1991, released Odd Man In album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1993, released Oh Boy! O’Boy! album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1995, his song “You Love Me, You Love Me Not” was recorded by country singer Hal Ketchum.
  • 1996, released an album of Bob Dylan songs Red On Blonde (Sugar Hill).
  • 1997, became the first artist to achieve three #1 albums on the Gavin “Americana” Charts.
  • 1997, released When No One’s Around album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1997, Garth Brooks recorded a song co-written by Tim called “When There’s No One Around.”
  • 1998, performed with Jeff White, Charlie Cushman, Mark Schatz and Jerry Douglas in a group called “The Flattheads.”
  • 1999, formed a group with Darol Anger, Mike Marshall and Alison Brown called New Grange.
  • 1999, released an album of Irish music The Crossing (Allulu).
  • 2000, began recording and touring as a duo with guitarist/songwriter Darrell Scott.
  • 2001, was appointed president of the IBMA. Resigned two years later.
  • 2002, released Two Journeys album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2003, released Traveler album (Sugar Hill).
  • 2006, won Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording.
  • 2006, won his second IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year (also won in 1993).
  • 2005, released Real Time album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2005, released Fiddler’s Green album (Sugar Hill). He won a Grammy Award for this album in the categor “Best Traditional Folk Album.”
  • 2006, won IBMA award for Song of the Year (“Look Down that Lonesome Road”).
  • 2012, released We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2013, was a founding member of the Earls of Leicester. He won a Grammy Award for the band’s self-titled album.
  • 2013 was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2013, released Memories & Moments album with Darrell Scott (Full Skies).
  • 2013, released new Hot Rize album When I’m Free and began touring once again with the group.
  • 2015, released Pompadour album (Howdy Skies).
  • 2017, released Where the River Meets the Road album (Howdy Skies).

OBrien, Tim and Mollie


  • From Wheeling, West Virginia.
  • Brother and sister duo; have sung together since childhood.
  • 1967, won a talent contest in Wheeling performing as “Hardship and Perseverance.” The following year, they won it again as “The Katzenjammer Kids.” Next year, they won it a third time as the “Campbell Soup Kids.”
  • Tim is a well-known bluegrass artist (best known for his work with Hot Rize and The Earls of Leicester). Mollie studied voice in college and has performed opera and musical theatre.
  • 1992, released Remember Me album (Sugar Hill).
  • 1994, toured South America for the U.S. Information Agency.

OBryant, Alan


  • From Reidsville, North Carolina.
  • Leader of the Nashville Bluegrass Band since its inception (plays banjo).
  • 1974, began performing with James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers.
  • 1979, joined The Front Porch String Band.
  • 1982, was a member of The Bluegrass Band, a project band led by Butch Robins.
  • 1984, formed the Nashville Bluegrass Band.
  • Among his songwriting credits: “Those Memories of You” was recorded by “The Trio” (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris).
  • Trademark singing style: holds the head of the banjo up near the microphone while he sings “into” the banjo. According to O’Bryant, he originally did it to get the weight off his diaphragm, thus giving him more vocal control. But he noticed that the “echo” effect also helped him to stay on pitch.
  • 1995, received the Heritage Award from the Charlotte (NC) Folk Music Society for his role in preserving his home state’s traditional music.

OConnor, Mark (The O’Connor Band)


  • From Seattle, Washington. Has lived in Nashville and San Diego, California. Currently lives in New York City.
  • He was a child prodigy. He could identify specific classical composers at age 3.
  • Began playing guitar at age 6. Began violin lessons at age 11. Seven months later, won second place at the National Old-Time Fiddle Championships in Weiser, Idaho.
  • Appeared on the Grand Ole Opry when he was 12 years old. He was introduced by Roy Acuff.
  • By age 14, had won two National Junior Fiddle Championships, One Grand Masters Fiddle Championship, and the National Guitar Flatpicking Championship (Winfield, Kansas). After his victory at Winfield the rules were changed—making contestants wait at least five years before they could win the championship a second time. (He did.)
  • 1979, toured Japan with Dan Crary.
  • 1980, joined The David Grisman Quintet, but left after breaking his arm in a skiing accident. 1981, joined an electric band called The Dregs—formerly The Dixie Dregs.
  • Has performed at Carnegie Hall with Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman and cellist Yoyo Ma.
  • 1983, embarked on a solo career, performing and recording with a wide variety of artists in just about every musical category.
  • 1991, won the CMA award for his album New Nashville Cats (Warner Brothers).
  • 1991-1996, won the CMA award six consecutive years for Musician of the Year.
  • 1991, wrote his first violin concerto.
  • 1993, toured with Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt for their “No Hats Tour.” This tour marked his farewell to country music. He has focused on classical music ever since.
  • 1993, released Heroes album (Warner Brothers).
  • Most important musical influence: Texas-style fiddler Benny Thomasson.
  • 1999, moved to Southern California and began conducting fiddle camps at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
  • 2004, released Thirty Year Retrospective album (OMAC) with Chris Thile (mandolin), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Byron House (bass).
  • 2009, released String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3 album (OMAC) featuring String Quartet No. 2 “Bluegrass” and String Quartet No. 3 “Old Time.”
  • 2010, released Jam Session album (OMAC), combining bluegrass with Gypsy Jazz.
  • 2011, released An Appalachian Christmas album (OMAC).
  • 2015, released Duo album with his wife Maggie (OMAC).
  • 2016, released Coming Home album (Rounder) by The O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor featuring his wife Maggie (fiddle), son Forrest (vocals/mandolin) and Forrest’s partner Kate Lee (vocals/fiddle). The band also includes Joe Smart (guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bass).
  • 2017, won the Grammy Award for Coming Home album (Rounder).

Ohmsen, Tom


  • From Salem, Virginia.
  • A recording engineer/producer by occupation and owner of Flat Five Studios. He is also an accomplished mandolin player.
  • Has worked on albums by the Dave Matthews Band, Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley.
  • Wrote a book titled Music Theory for Modern Mandolin.
  • Plays “jazz-swing-latin-bluegrass-blues” music.
  • 2001, released Acoustinova album (Flat Five), an album of mandolin solos.

Old and In the Way


  • From San Francisco, California.
  • Formed in 1973 featuring featuring Jerry Garcia (of the Grateful Dead) on banjo, David Grisman on mandolin, Peter Rowan on guitar, Vassar Clements on fiddle, and John Kahn on bass.
  • They made several appearances over the course of about a year, playing venues like Paul’s Saloon and The Boarding House in San Francisco.
  • 1975, a live recording of the band was released (Old & In the Way) and became one of the biggest-selling bluegrass albums of all time.
  • According to Grisman, the group never really got very tight because “Garcia hated to practice.”
  • 1996, re-united for a concert at the Telluride Music Festival with Herb Pederson filling in for Jerry Garcia.
  • 2002, the new version of the group released an album called Old & In the Gray (Arista).

Old Crow Medicine Show


  • Began in Ithica, New York.
  • 1998, began as buskers (street musicians) playing “pre-war jug band music.” The busked their way west across Canada and then back east to Boone, North Carolina.
  • Founding members of the band: Ketch Sekor (fiddle, banjo, harmonica), Critter Fuqua (banjo, guitar, Dobro™), Kevin Hayes (Guitjo), Ben Gould (bass), Willie Watson (guitar, banjo, fiddle).
  • They are known by their fans as simply Old Crow.
  • While performing on a street corner in Boone, NC, they were heard by Doc Watson and invited to play Merlefest.
  • 2000, moved to Nashville and busked and were invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry. Eventually they were hired to entertain Grand Ole Opry audiences between shows. They became members of the Opry in 2013.
  • 2001, first tour, opening for Del McCoury.
  • 2003, performed on a float for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (New York).
  • 2004, David Rawlings produced their first album O.C.M.S. (Nettwerk Records). This album included the song “Wagon Wheel” (coauthored by Sekor and Bob Dylan) which went gold in 2011 and platinum (selling over a million copies) in 2013. This song has subsequently been covered by Darius Rucker and other country, bluegrass and folk groups.
  • 2011, the band went on hiatus and disbanded.
  • 2012, reunited after founding member Fuqua and Watson returned. Released Carry Me Back album (ATO Records).
  • 2013, became members of the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 2014, released Remedy album (ATO Records).
  • 2015, won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album (for “Remedy” album).

Old Growth Quartet


  • From the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Washington and Sisters, Oregon).
  • Formed in 2017 by Dale Adkins (guitar, banjo, mandolin), Paul Elliott (fiddle), Don Share (guitar), and Joseph Wilmhoff (bass).
  • Adkins is a virtuoso guitarist who formerly worked with the Kate McKenzie band, and has also worked with Dan Crary, Frontline and other Northwest bands.
  • Elliott is a well known fiddler who has worked with The Good Old Persons, John Reischman, Michelle Shocked, Alison Brown, Buell Neidlinger, and others.
  • 2018, released first album Right Smack in the Middle of Town (Laurel Inn).

Old Salt Union


  • From Belleville, IL (a suburb of St. Louis, MO).
  • Formed in 2012 by Ryan Murphey (banjo) and Dustin Eiskant (guitar). Other members: Justin Wallace (mandolin), John Brighton (fiddle), Jesse Farrar (bass). Eiskant was later replaced by guitarist Rob Kindle.
  • Banjo player Murphey is also a horticulturist. Farrar is a hip-hop producer and also played bass on a national tour of the Four Freshman.
  • 2015, won the FreshGrass Band competition (North Adams, Massachusetts).
  • 2016, signed with Compass Records.
  • 2017, released self-titled album (Compass).
  • 2019, released Where the Dogs Don’t Bite album (Compass).

Old School Freight Train


  • From Richmond, Virginia.
  • Formed in 2001 at the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg).
  • Played a mix of bluegrass, jazz, Americana and latin music.
  • 2001, placed second at the band contest in Telluride.
  • 2002, released Old School Freight Train album (Courthouse).
  • 2005, 2006, backed David Grisman on tour.
  • Original members include Pete Frostic (mandolin), Jesse Harper (guitar), Ben Krakauer (banjo), Darrell Muller (bass), Ann Marie Simpson (fiddle).
  • 2007, released Live in Ashland album (no label).
  • 2007, appeared at the Stagecoach Festival in Coachella Valley, California.
  • 2009, released Six Years album (no label).
  • 2010, broke up.

Open Road


  • From Longmont, Colorado.
  • Call themselves “young traditionalists.”
  • Formed in 1999 by guitarist Brad Folk and mandolinist Caleb Roberts. Banjo player Jim Rummels joined in 2000.
  • Band name comes from a particular kind of Stetson Hat.
  • Lead singer Brad Folk is an actual cowboy.
  • 2000, released first album produced by Sally Van Meter.
  • 2002, released Cold Wind album (Rounder).
  • 2004, released In The Life album (Rounder).
  • 2005, released Lucky Drive album (Rounder).
  • 2012, Folk moved to Nashville and began performing as Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys. He showcased at IBMA the following year.

Orshaw, Laura


  • From northeastern Pennsylvania. Now lives in Nashville.
  • Grew up in a musical family. Her father Mark Orshaw played guitar in a bluegrass band called the Lonesome Road Ramblers. He also owned a music store. Laura began playing fiddle as a youngster and made her first recordings at age 12.
  • Attended Berklee College of Music. Lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts for several years. While there, she performed with numerous northeastern bluegrass acts including Danny Paisley, Della Mae, Chasing Blue, Jenni Lyn and Darol Anger.
  • She is also a Master’s level counselor at Lesley University as Coordinator for their Expressive Therapies Graduate Program.
  • 2015, released first solo project Songs of Lost Yesterdays (no label).
  • 2017, married guitarist Tony Watt.
  • 2018, joined Alan Bibey & Grasstowne.
  • 2020, joined the Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, playing fiddle.
  • 2022, released Solitary Diamond album (Dark Shadow).
  • 2023, was awarded the Eisenson Family Prize for American Roots Music from the Berklee College of Music.

Osborne, Bobby


  • From Hyden, Kentucky (Lives in Portland, Tennessee)
  • The elder of the Osborne Brothers, he formed his own band The Rocky Top Xpress, after brother Sonny retired in 2004.
  • He is the only bluegrass artist (so far) to be elected twice into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame (as a member of the Osborne Brothers and also as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.)
  • 2001, released a duet album with Jesse McReynolds Masters of the Mandolin (Pinecastle).
  • 2006, was appointed to a professorship at Hazard Community & Technical College in Hyden, Kentucky (his home town), teaching music.
  • Songwriting credits include: Bluegrass Express, Big Spike Hammer, Memories, I’ll Be All Right Tomorrow, Son of a Sawmill Man, Pain in My Heart and This Heart of Mine Can Never Say GoodBye.
  • His son Bobby Osborne Jr. is a member of his band, known as “Boj.”
  • 2007, released Bluegrass Melodies album (Rounder).
  • 2009, released Bluegrass & Beyond album (Rounder).
  • 2010, released Memories album (Rural Rhythm), celebrating Bobby’s 60 years in bluegrass music.
  • 2012, released New Bluegrass & Old Heartaches album (Rural Rhythm).
  • 2017, released Original album (Compass), produced by Alison Brown.
  • 2017, won IBMA Award for Recorded Event of the Year (for “Gotta Get a Message to You” from his album Original on Compass Records).
  • 2023, died at the age of 91.

Osborne Brothers, The


  • From Hyden, Kentucky (Live in Nashville.)
  • Bobby plays mandolin; Sonny plays banjo.
  • Bobby is six years older than Sonny.
  • Sonny’s given name is Roland.
  • 1949, Bobby began musical career with banjo player Larry Richardson and the Cline Brothers (Ray and Charlie) in The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.
  • 1950, Sonny joined the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers at age 13.
  • 1951, Sonny was hired by Bill Monroe to play banjo with the Blue Grass Boys.
  • 1953, Bobby and Sonny teamed up with Jimmy Martin and performed on a radio station in Detroit as as “Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers.” They were invited to come to Nashville to do a radio program, but turned it down because the pay wasn’t good enough. The sponsors hired Flatt and Scruggs instead. The show was “The Martha White Show” on WSM.
  • 1955, parted company with Martin and worked with Charlie Bailey in Wheeling, West Virginia on WWVA.
  • 1956, formed their own band with Red Allen singing lead. Signed by MGM Records.
  • 1964, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1968, recorded their biggest hit “Rocky Top.” In 1984, the song was designated the state song of Tennessee. (The Osborne Brothers performed it live before the Tennessee State Legislature.)
  • 1969, went electric, infuriating many of their fans. At one concert, someone snuck up on stage and snipped the electric chord to Sonny’s banjo.
  • 1970, Sonny invented a six-string banjo which had one extra bass string. Played it for several years but eventually abandoned the idea.
  • 1971, won the CMA Award for “Vocal Group of the Year.”
  • 1973, were the first bluegrass group to perform at the White House (for Richard Nixon).
  • 1974, stopped using electric instruments, except for an electric bass.
  • 1991, dropped the electric bass in favor of the acoustic string bass.
  • 1994, were inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.
  • 2000, a section of Route 421 in Kentucky was named “Osborne Brothers Way.”
  • 2004, Sonny retired due to a shoulder operation which impacted his ability to play up to his standards.  He began building and selling banjos with his Sonny Osborne Banjo Company, specializing in a banjo called “The Osborne Chief.” For several years, he wrote a column for Bluegrass Today called “Ask Sonny Anything,” which became the website’s most popular feature.
  • 2005, Bobby formed his own band called Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-press.
  • 2014, Pinecastle released a previously unreleased album of 1970’s era recordings by the Osborne Brothers called Nashville.
  • 2021, Sonny died at the age of 84.
  • 2023, Bobby died at the age of 91.


Osborne, Dean


  • From Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Sonny and Bobby Osborne are cousins. His grandfather is their uncle.
  • Besides music, his passion is training and showing Tennessee walking horses, a family tradition.
  • 1980, formed his first band called Thousandsticks Express.
  • 1986, formed his second band Eastbound.
  • 1988, went full-time with his band.
  • 2006, appointed head of the Bluegrass and Traditional Music program at Hazard Community & Technical College in Hyden, Kentucky.

Osborne, Wynn


  • From Nashville, Tennessee. Lives in Ocala, Florida.
  • He is the son of Bobby Osborne (of the Osborne Brothers).
  • Learned banjo from Earl Scruggs and Sonny Osborne.
  • 1980, formed his own band The Bluegrass Playboys and released a solo album, “Five String Magic” (CMH).
  • 1981, played banjo with the Osborne Brothers when Sonny was injured.
  • 1982, disbanded his group to attend technical college.
  • 1984, worked with the Boys from Indiana.
  • 1986, moved to the Orlando, Florida area where he took a job working in the computer industry.
  • Has recorded several widely-distributed albums for CMH Records in their “Pickin On …” series, and an album called The Banjos That Destroyed the World.

Ostroushko, Peter


  • From Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Best known as an accomplished mandolin and fiddle player.
  • His family is from the Ukraine.
  • Has toured regularly with Robin and Linda Williams, Norman Blake and the Rising Fawn Ensemble, and Chet Atkins. He also worked with Jethro Burns, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, Greg Brown, John Hartford and Taj Mahal, among others.
  • He is makes regular appearances on radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, and for several years served as Music Director for the show. He has also appeared on Austin City Limits, Late Night with David Letterman, and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
  • He is also very much involved in the Children’s Music Theatre in Minneapolis.
  • As a composer, his works have been performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Minnesota Sinfonia, the Rochester (Minnesota) Symphony Orchestra, the Des Moines Symphony and the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, among others. He composed and performed the underscore for Ken Burns documentary about Mark Twain (PBS).
  • 2001, was the recipient of a Bush Artist Fellowship for Music Composition.
  • 2012, released solo project The Mando Chronicles (Red House).

Otsuka, Akira


  • From Japan; lives in the Washington DC area.
  • Best known as the impressive mandolin player with The Bluegrass 45, a legendary bluegrass band from Japan.
  • Has become a fixture in the Washington DC bluegrass scene, plays all the bluegrass instruments.
  • Also played in a group called Grazz Matazz, house band at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.
  • 2012, released first solo project on Patuxent Records First Tear.

Overall Brothers, The


  • From Nashville.
  • Formed in 2004 by Danny Barnes, Elmer Burchett, Jr., Kevin Harper, Wesley Probst and Kim Gardner.
  • Barnes (mandolin) is from Kentucky and has performed with the Barnes Family Band, Charlie Sizemore, David Parmley and Continental Divide, Pine Mountain Railroad.
  • Burchett (banjo) is from Kentucky and has worked with Lou Reid and Carolina, David Parmley and Continental Divide, Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz, Ronnie Bowman, Brooks and Dunn.
  • Harper (fiddle) is from Louisiana and has worked in numerous country bands including the Tracy Lawrence band.
  • Probst (guitar) is from Missouri and worked with Harold Morrison and other artists before becoming a full-time songwriter.
  • Gardner (Dobro™) is from North Carolina and has worked with the Lonesome River Band, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Larry Cordle and many others.
  • First release: a novelty song called “Christmastime in Texas.”

Owens, Andy


  • Born in Louisville, Kentucky. For many years lived in Dallas, Texas. Now living in North Carolina.
  • Sings, writes songs and plays all the bluegrass instruments. Mandolin is his specialty.
  • Has an MBA from SMU. In addition to his musical interests, he has owned a recording studio, a construction business, a business that manages practices for medical doctors in the Dallas area and a sleep disorder clinic.
  • Formed a band called The Andy Owens Project in 1991.
  • Was a founding member of Danger in the Air (1983-1991) a Dallas-based band which morphed into the Dixie Chicks. Also worked with The Fredonia Rebellion (1976-1981), Les Fauves (1981-1983), a “punk-grass” band and Killbilly.
  • 1992, released Kerosene Circuit album (Real Music).
  • 1993, was elected to the board of the IBMA and served one term as board chairman.
  • 1994, released “Real Music” album (Real Music).
  • 1997, released One Eye Open album (Real Music).
  • Owns his own record label 1-800-Bluegrass.
  • 1999, he and his wife Cathy sold everything and left Dallas with their two sons to go on a 12-month musical walkabout they called “The Bluegrass Expedition.” They performed in 28 countries before returning home to settle in North Carolina (near Deep Gap, home of Doc Watson). He has a recording studio there called Lonesome Pine Studio.
  • Hobby: coon hunting and scuba diving.
  • 2006, began touring and recording with the Czech band Druha Trava. Together they recorded an album called Drive South (1-800-Bluegrass).
  • 2007, released Melody for You album (1-800-Bluegrass).
  • He and his son Cameron have a progressive bluegrass group called FreeGrass.

Owens, Caroline


  • From Denton, North Carolina.
  • Began singing at the age of 2. Decided to become a bluegrass singer at age 13.
  • She has won numerous awards as a vocalist. She accompanies herself on guitar.
  • 2021, formed the Caroline Band.
  • 2022, was invited to showcase at the IBMA World of Bluegrass.
  • 2023, at age 21 released her first single “Heartbreak Train” (Skyline Records)
  • 2024, changed her band name to New Company.