When the conductor of a local community orchestra heard that a young Liam O’Brien liked to write music, he half-jokingly commissioned a piece from the budding composer. O’Brien promptly did what any 12-year-old would have: he went home and knocked out a suite for symphony orchestra. That piece went on to be included in a series of performances by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
Driven by a deep love of music and a collaborative lifestyle, Liam O’Brien has spent the last two decades developing a unique symphonic-folk sound that brings together the improbable, pulling his compositions out of the conservatory and onto the front porch. O’Brien creates communities through his music, pushing the radius of his art into ever-broader circles that challenge conventional thinking about how music should be experienced. Liam O’Brien’s Faithless Followers is the rotating cast of talent who come together to bring this vision to life through immersive, dynamic performances and recordings anchored by Liam's heartfelt melodies and thoughtful lyrics.
O’Brien has a degree in Music Theory and Composition, has been producer and engineer at the helm of many projects, is a founding member of the freak folk collective Holy Sheboygan! and has toured internationally both with that group and as a solo act. At home, you can find him holding down horn lines on his saxophone as a part of local Milwaukee entertainer D'Amato's funky backing band, hosting an intimate performance series in his backyard, or getting weird in the free-improv scene.
O’Brien’s music is reflective of his journey through life. In January 2015, Liam was granted a month-long residency at the Wormfarm Institute, a rural breeding ground for both culture and agriculture in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. During this time, Liam reflected on an adventurous five year period, which included moving out to Portland, OR (twice), busking countless street corners, visiting communes around the US, hitchhiking his way across Europe for the better part of a year, starting a 72-acre urban farm, and touring in a broken down bus with a wild folk collective. Out of that month of reflection, between chicken feedings, fire stoking and long walks with the farm dog, came a new collection of songs, which ultimately made up his new EP, Nowhere To Go. The project was recorded as one continuous thirty-minute live take in his apartment in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee.
Within the flowing, dynamic arrangements of picked strings and the steady pulsing of the rhythm section, Nowhere To Go reveals a shifting mindset. The message of the new EP is simple - many look for salvation in the next big adventure, a piety-induced eternal life, or a first-class ticket to Mars, but with the right lens, happiness can be found when there’s nowhere else to go - on this planet, during this life and in the familiar places, surrounded by the people you love.