CONOR OBERST

Conor Oberst joined his first band at the age of 13 and has been releasing music since 1993. Over the next two plus decades, he’s released cassette-only recordings, split 7-inches, and a dozen albums of uncommon insight, detail, and political awareness with his band Bright Eyes, under his own name, as a member of Desaparecidos, as leader of the The Mystic Valley Band, and with the Monsters of Folk supergroup.

In Fall of 2015, and after more than a decade of living in New York City, Oberst returned to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, somewhat unexpectedly. Like John Lennon so famously said: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” After canceling a tour with Desaparecidos due to serious health issues, Oberst returned home to recuperate. The musician was unexpectedly back home at loose ends and faced with some long, cold, claustrophobic winter nights, with nothing really to do. Such conditions were the same as those that contributed to the very early songs he penned in his boyhood bedroom. This resulted in the anxious poetry, heightened self-awareness, and revealing confessionals that catalogued his doubts, demons, and nightmares.

“It wasn’t premeditated at all. I don’t know if you know what Omaha is like in the winter, but it’s just paralyzing. You’re stranded in the house. Every night I was staying up late, making a point to play the new piano I had just bought and watching the snow fall outside the house. Everybody would be asleep and I would just go into this one room, make a fire, and play all night. In November I had a whole pick-up truck full of firewood delivered and I thought, ‘I’m never going to run out of it.’ Before I knew I had gone through half of the firewood and I had five songs. By February I had burned through it all, and I had 15 songs. I had just spent the whole winter making fires and playing music.”

Making and playing music has always been a healing balm for the sometimes troubled musician. And this time it especially seemed important. It was if he was writing himself back to sanity. Back to understanding what is really important and has meaning for him. And in the same kind of immediacy with which the songs were written, Oberst realized he needed to record them right away, in order to capture the kind of raw intensity and rough magic behind them. When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs, with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica – he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band - upstate New York's The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) - the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, released in October 2016 as Ruminations. Pitchfork called it “a record like none other in Oberst’s catalog, stunning for how utterly alone he sounds,” and the UK’s Sunday Times called it, “The rawest album yet from the forever troubled one-time voice of a generation. Political and very, very personal,” saying Oberst is “one of the best songwriters around.”

Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations - co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott, and Jonathan Wilson.

Salutations includes full band versions of the ten songs from Ruminations, plus seven additional songs, some from an additional session at Five Star Studios in Echo Park in fall 2016. Oberst says of the Salutations sessions: "Jim (Keltner) was really the captain of the ship and the spiritual leader of the project. We leaned heavy on his fifty-plus years of musical insight to get us to where we needed to be. He brought such depth and dignity to the proceedings that made everyone else involved rise to the occasion. It was a true stroke of luck that he got involved when he did.”

Tim Kasher

I've been writing and playing music for quite some time now. Matt Maginn and I started The Semi-Conscious in grade school where I played a little synth and Matt played drums on pillows. Or maybe it was the other way around. We did Fine Young Cannibals covers, of that, I'm certain.

I picked up guitar and Matt picked up bass. We started the bands March Hares and Slowdown Virginia in high school which rolled over into our college years. Once we decided it was alright to take ourselves more seriously, we started Cursive and have been more or less doing that for twenty years now (sheesh).

Around the turn of the century, I started a "side" project called The Good Life which turned out to be a full time "project", sans side. I spent the early half of the aughts tirelessly touring with one band and then the next, sometimes with just a weekend off between the two. Surprisingly, I didn't mind it, and even found myself suffering from ennui whenever I managed to have time off the road.

I suppose all that touring rattled my brain a touch; I started moving around the country, unwilling to settle anywhere for longer than a couple years. Los Angeles, Whitefish, back to Omaha, Atlanta, Chicago, back to Los Angeles.

In 2010, I started yet another project and came up with the wildest moniker: Tim Kasher. The Game of Monogamy came out on Saddle Creek, followed by Adult Film a couple years later. Per usual, I've done lots of touring for the releases, both home and abroad, accompanied by various excellent musicians.

March 3, 2017 finds me releasing my third solo album, No Resolution. It marks the first release on 15 Passenger Records, a label founded by Cursive: Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens and yours truly. It's been an exciting time, and an enriching creative endeavor, as I also wrote and directed a feature length film, aptly titled No Resolution, to be released later in the year.

Thanks for reading. I'm already looking forward to how outdated this mini bio may sound by the time I finally get around to updating it. Here's to living in the present, xo Tim

Frances Quinlan

Frances Quinlan of Hop Along

$31 adv/$36 dos

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Conor Oberst has partnered with Plus1 so that $1 from every ticket sold will go to support Planned Parenthood and their work delivering vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people in the US and worldwide.

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