Virtual Event: Bobbie & Bill C. Malone w/ Doug Moe

Wednesday, January 25th

Time: 7:00p
Where: Livestreaming on Crowdcast (RSVP)

Cover for Traveler


About the book

For five decades, as a singer, musician, songwriter, and producer, Tim O’Brien has ceaselessly explored the vast American musical landscape. While Appalachia and Ireland eventually became facets of the defining myth surrounding him and his music, he has digested a broad array of roots styles, reshaping them to his own purposes. Award-winning biographer Bobbie Malone and premier country music historian Bill C. Malone have teamed again, this time to chronicle O’Brien’s career and trace the ascent of Hot Rize and its broadening and enrichment of musical traditions.

At the beginning of that career, O’Brien moved from his native West Virginia to the Rocky Mountain West. In just a few years, he became the lead singer, mandolin and fiddle player, and principal songwriter of beloved 1980s bluegrass band Hot Rize. Seeking to move beyond bluegrass, he next went to Nashville. O’Brien’s success in navigating the shoals of America’s vast reservoir of folk musical expressions took him into the realm of what is now called Americana.

The core of Tim O’Brien’s virtuosity is his abiding and energetic pursuit of the next musical adventure. As a traveler, he has ranged widely in choosing the next instrument, song, style, fellow musicians, or venue. Written with O’Brien’s full cooperation and the input of family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Traveler provides the first complete, behind-the-scenes picture of a thoroughly American self-made musical genius—the boy who grew up listening to country artists at the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and ended up charting a new course through American music.


Bill and Bobbie Malone

About the authors

Emeritus Tulane University history professor, Bill C. Malone, grew up with country music in East Texas. His dissertation in American History from the University of Texas became the definitive history of country music, Country Music, USA. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in a completely revised edition in 2018, and served as the basis for the narrative in the Ken Burns Country Music series, in which he appeared.He and Bobbie coauthored Songwriting Sweethearts: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story (2020), and his most recent book is Sing Me Back Home, an anthology of his previously published essays. After following Bobbie to Madison where he has hosted Back to the Country, a weekly WORT community radio program in Madison, Wisconsin for the past 24 years, the Malones returned to their home state of Texas and are now residing in San Antonio. You can still hear Bill on Back to the Country on the 4th Wednesdays of the month.

Bobbie Malone grew up in San Antonio, then lived in New Orleans, where she earned a PhD in American History from Tulane University. Her dissertation became Rabbi Max Heller: Reformer, Zionist, Southerner, 1860-1929. She moved to Madison in 1995 to direct the Office of School Services at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where she wrote and edited books for the state’s classrooms. After retiring, she wrote the biography of her favorite childhood author/illustrator, Lois Lenski: Storycatcher, which won the 2016 Indies Editor’s Choice Award in nonfiction, and Striding Lines: The Unique Story Quilts of Rumi O’Brien. Bill and Bobbie had such fun collaborating on Nashville’s Songwriting Sweethearts, that they immediately chose to work on Traveler: The Musical Odyssey of Tim O’Brien, published in the fall of 2022.