Colin O’Brien’s songs are timeless. Many of the numbers on his new CD, Dancing by the River, sound as if they lived in the ether for centuries, only to be channeled finally through his own imagination. “One of the biggest compliments I can get when I play is, ‘Did you write that song?’” he says. O’Brien has played in a variety of settings since the ’90s when he studied American finger style guitar at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, including with duos and a popular string band, Salt Creek. Lately, he’s been making a living as a soloist.