dollartone

MORGAN O'KANE  

Of his new song, "Shroud Of Turin,” virtuoso banjoist/songwriter/activist Morgan O’Kanesays, "It’s not an atheist or anti-religion song by any means. It’s actually very spiritual. It’s about how faith has twisted minds.” O’Kane goes on to tell the story of a West Virginia town, not far from where he grew up (Charlottesville, VA- he lives in NYC now), ravaged by an unusual epidemic of cancer, allegedly brought on by the strip mining activities of a handful of local corporations. The townspeople have been hoodwinked, the companies using their faith as a conduit, that their passivity in the matter is virtuous in the Eyes of the Beholder.                                                  

 the one they call the wind "Shroud Of Turin” is just one of the songs on his latest, and 3rdfull-length album, The One They Call The Wind due out on March 25th on Dollartone Records that illuminates O’Kane’s inspiration, and it’s par for the course. He not only talks about what he loves, what he’s passionate about, what he won’t stand for and what he can’t stand, he writes and sings about it, as well.    

For the past handful of years, O’Kane has been actively involved in the Anti-Mountaintop Removal movement, and has aided the efforts of the Mountain Justice Organization. In fact, Morgan and band-mate, "Sufi wizard" Ezekiel Healy provided the score for Jordan Freeman’s powerful documentary film, Low Coal, a must-see for anyone interested in issues of inequality and the affects of corporate and political decisions on the working class.

But like historical folk/blues predecessors Phil Ochs, Woody Guthrie, Reverend Gary Davis, Aunt Molly Jackson and the late Pete Seeger, among others, of course, transformative personal events are put to light, first and foremost…

For example, "Fiddler’s Green” is a tune that pays tribute to fiddler/band mate Ferd Moyse IV’s Freeport 36 sailboat, and the transcendent Carribean jaunt that O’Kane and his group of musicians took with the vessel a few years back. O’Kane says, "The song is about that trip—surrounded by the phosphorescence and the call of the sea bird, you remember loved ones in a different light.” It points at how a shift in perspective could inspire a shift in perception.

Speaking of which, the new album features a noteworthy posse of music maker friends- Moyse IV, who also plays with the Hackensaw Boys; Healy on national guitar; NYC brass band veteran J.R. Hankins on flugelhorn, and Liam Crill on drums, (Kings of Nuthin). NYC-based chanteuse Domino Kirke also guests on backing vocals for a number of the album’s tunes.

"Monarchs” is a song about direction, as well-- about how we all have a built-in compass that guides us along: Monarchs in the wind/Remember where they've been/Holding on to life/Migration in flight.

"Compass Rose” is a particularly brilliant display of talent, boasting O’Kane’s relentless banjo picking and divine bellow, encircled by Hankins’ flugelhorn, Healy’s slide guitar work and Kirke’s lovely backing vocal, and the album’s title track is a showcase for Crill’s insistent percussion and Moyse’s fiddle over O’Kane’s refrain, "This old church is going up in flames/Worship the one they call the wind.”

The One They Call The Wind does owe a lot to Morgan’s 2 prior album releases. 2010’s debut LP, Nine Lives which was heralded by, among others, Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour who quipped, "If Uncle Dave Macon married Bruce Springsteen their love child would be Morgan O’Kane” (the album also made MOJO Magazine’s Top Ten playlist). And 2011’s Pendulumprompted Dutch outlet, LUST FOR LIFEto say, "Morgan O’Kane is a phenomenon… raw and intense… he revives old heroes of traditional music while hypnotically channeling the heartbeat of the country. Fiercely, together with Ezekiel Healy, Ferd Moyse, Leyla McCalla as though they come from a deep and dark past of a not yet mapped out American mountain scene.”

But the new long player takes it from there and steps it up. It is a concise masterpiece of virtuosic musicianship, infinite spirit and unyielding passion, and in this way The One They Call The Wind is, at once, transporting and timeless.


 

 

 

THE ONE THEY CALL THE WIND CD RELEASE TOUR DATES:
(more dates to be announced shortly) 
 
USA

March 11, 2014 - SXSW Saxon Pub 8:30 pm
 
March 27, 2014 Brooklyn, NY Black Bear Bar  70 N. 6th St. wsg 
March 28, 2014 Brooklyn, NY Black Bear Bar 70 N. 6th St. wsg
March 29, 2014 Pittsburgh, PA Howlers
March 30, 2014 Cincinnati, OH Eli's BBQ
March 31, 2014 Knoxville, TN Preservation Pub
April 2, 2014 Nashville, TN Backyard Opry
April 9, 2014 New Orleans LA Siberia
 
EUROPE/UK
 
May 1, 2014 Dundalk (IRL) Spirit Store
May 2, 2014 Wexford (IRL) The Sky and The Ground
May 3, 2014 Kilkenny (IRL) Kilkenny Roots Festival
May 4, 2014 Kilkenny (IRL) Kilkenny Roots Festival
May 5, 2014 Comber (IRL) Enler Blues Club
May 6, 2014 Cork (IRL) Crane Lane Theatre
May 7, 2014 Derry (IRL) Liberty Tree Folk Club
May 9, 2014 Aldeburgh (UK) The Pumphouse
May 11, 2014 Cardiff (UK) The Moon Club
My 13, 2014 Birmingham (UK) Kitchen garden Cafe
May 14, 2014 London (UK) What's Cookin'
May 15, 2014 Geel (BE) Bachus Cafe
May 17, 2014 Utrecht (NL) Tivoli de Helling
May 18, 2014 Rotterdam (NL) Het Klooster
May 24, 2014 Cambrai (FR) American Journeys Festival
May 25, 2014 Barcelona (ESP) Rocksound
May 26, 2014 Valladolid (ESP) Teatro Zorilla
May 28, 2014 Zaragosa (ESP) Explosivo Club
May 30, 2014 Gijon (ESP) Savoy
May 31, 2014 Blbao (ESP) Umore Ona
June 1, 2014 Madrid (ESP) Hell Paso
June 10, 2014 Krefeld (DE) Kulturrampe
June 11, 2014 Berlin (DE) Auster Club
June 12, 2014 Furth (DE) Kunstkeller
June 13, 2014 Mannheim (DE) Blau
June 14, 2014 Nijmegen (NL) Kids N Billies
June 15, 2014 Leewarden (NL) Jailbreak
june 19, 2014 Middleburg (NL) Kaffee het Hof
June 20, 2014 Wardamme (BE) Muddy Roots Europe

 
Previous Press: 

 

"This is a marvellous piece of work , of which all concerned can be proud. Pendulum has fourteen self penned tracks - all are powered by O'Kane's banjo pyrotechnics, and often include Dobro, Fiddle, Cello, Spoons, voices, thumps and bangs, and miscellaneous bits of startling inventiveness.  There is a flugelhorn in there too. And a fair bit of shouting. Maybe that's down to eclectic producer Vic Thrill but it is probably mostly down to O'Kane himself. He's a man with a mission as well as with awesome technique. " 9/10 stars | The UK's www.liveblues.info                             

"Ace banjo man trawls the dark side...an intense and superb set" 7/10 Americana-UK          

"..delicious raw folk and bluegrass" www.dekrentenuitdepop.com

"This album should come with a warning; once you let it get under your skin you'll not get it out again"   John Hawes/Fatea UK May 2012

"West Virginia Mountain man sings loud and raw and plays banjo fast and beautiful. Impressed at Kings Cross Social Club last month" MOJO TOP TEN PLAYLIST Dec. 2010

"If Jimi Hendrix played the banjo he might resemble O'Kane, a high intensity musician who looks like a mechanic in a rural gas station, sings like a man possessed and plays mountain music like it was an avalanche....Great ear tingling surprise of Hillside this year." Robert Reid, The Record  July 2010





Nine Lives (2010)                                       Pendulum (2011)


Over the last year or so, Morgan has taken steps to raise his profile as an artist. He has toured around North America and has staked out a presence in Europe.
He lives in Brooklyn, NY and can be found playing on the street and in the subway around NYC when he is not on tour.

Click here for the official Morgan O'Kane Music website