Well we talked about old times
Like a couple of old guys
And took a little walk to the old baseball diamond
And along came O'Brien
With a guitar in his hand
Met us on the field with impeccable timing

He said I got a new song to show ya
Though it probably ain't gonna blow your mind
And the thing about O'Brien was
He could always make a string buzz like it was 1989
And I remember my old car and that old girlfriend of mine

It was a cracked wooden thing
He said wanna talk about old strings
It's been 10, 12 years since I last changed mine
And it says Sears down the neck
Had a little blood stain on the second fret
But you know it still keeps impeccable timing

And he said I got a brand new song to show ya
Though it probably ain't gonna blow your mind
And the thing about O'Brien was
He could always make a string buzz like it was still 1989
And I remember my old car and that old girlfriend of mine

And that's the story about O'Brien blew my mind


Lyrics submitted by ericaerica

O'Brien/O'Brien's Nocturne song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAnother person here who was blown away by this song on Austin City Limits, I'm watching it on loop as we speak. I tuned in for Wilco (who were awesome) but this guy is top class too. Got his album Post-War there and its excellent. Was some show, even had Jim James performing Golden.
    monkeypeason January 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my favorite m ward song. i wonder who its about.
    sleepingbagon August 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI dont know much about M. Ward but I first heard this song on the PBS show, Austin City Limits. He was playing this song with Conner Oberst from Bright Eyes. I LOVE this song.
    madhatter213on October 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentay, ay madhatter. I had never even heard of M.Ward until I saw him do this with Conor on ACL. Luckily, I had the show taped. I think I rewound and watched it 15 times...just unbelievable.
    sternjon April 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDid everyone see this on ACL a few weeks ago? That was the first time I'd ever watched it, but Conor and M. Ward were both amazing.
    Wentworth_Akeleyon February 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has a great old feel to it, a nostalgic feel like 1989 was a big year for M and hearing OBrien play reminded him of the time.. But I'm stating the obvious. My main point is: Did anyone catch him sing this with Conor Oberst on Austin City Limits? It's my personal favorite of any Bright Eyes or M's performances. Find it.
    forgetmynameon June 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first heard of M. Ward on ACL, too. I saw the episode rebroadcast about a year later and I DVR'd it and I rewatch it constantly. I also bought the recorded version of "O'Brien," but it's nowhere near as good as the live version they did on the show. I wish I could get a recording of it. I always think it's funny that he says O'Brien's guitar kept impeccable timing. How does a guitar keep timing? Isn't it the guitar player? Well I guess it worked for the song. Also amazing on that episode is the song the lead singer of My Morning Jacket performed right after this song. That episode turned me on to them, as well.
    brownsvillegirlon September 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe recorded song is like... an octave lower.

    youtube.com/…

    ^the austin city limits version that we all fell in love with...
    marthapurvison April 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is positively mesmerizing.
    Willboeon November 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation"O'Brien" represents the author's relationships and the "guitar" is his heart.
    herbal1chickenon August 22, 2010   Link

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