Every so often, just when you think the well is dry and the tradition is dead, you are gratefully reminded that there is still water down there and that the tradition was only sleeping. Morgan O’Kane from Charlottesville, Virginia, is one of those reminders. A virtuoso banjo player, shouter, and activist now based in New York City, Morgan recalls two other transplanted legendary southern artists: Rev. Davis and Aunt Molly Jackson. Like Rev. Davis, O’Kane honed his skills by making a living as a busking street artist. Like Aunt Molly, he has kept his connection to his Appalachian home, taking part in the campaign to ban mountaintop removal mining. O’Kane clearly knows his way around the old tunes, but he is more interested in creating his own. That’s how the tradition survives: new songs are created on old foundations. This ain’t no revival… this is a contemporary artist who knows where he comes from.
Morgan O'Kane has released 3 full length studio albums and is currently working on new songs with accompanying videos. The videos feature O'Kane's debut as a claymation artist and include the cinematography of Emmy award winner, Johnny St. Ours.
Aside from performing live and recording, Morgan has multiple television and film placements. Morgan has been featured and appeared in the FX TV show Louie (Season 5, episode 1) and wrote the theme song Taker's Creed for WGN's OUTSIDERS.
On his latest release, The One They Call The Wind, O'kane goes deeper than on the previous releases. "The One They Call The Wind is an extension of its very impressive predecessor, Pendulum, but on all fronts even slightly better....Morgan O'Kane plays with his heart and that you hear." - Erwin Zijleman/ de krenten uit de pop nl
Morgan's years of touring play a role in this album. On Daragh's Kitchen he is joined by Dublin's up and comers, Lynched 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 dobro; 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.
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 Pendulum prompted Dutch outlet, LUST FOR LIFE to 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.
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- "Morgan O’Kane is New York’s banjo-playing, tambourine-toting, hillbilly-punk journeyman." 2013 Narrative.ly / Patrick Flanary a regular contributor at Rolling Stone and Billboard, has also covered music and politics for Entertainment Weekly, ProPublica and The Huffington Post.
- "After hearing the first few songs on this self-composed fourteen track CD it struck me that this music was to bluegrass and old timey what punk was to rock in the late Seventies. " Ian Spafford / www.Stirrings.org.uk
- "The One They Call The Wind is an extension of its very impressive predecessor, Pendulum, but on all fronts even slightly better....Morgan O'Kane plays with his heart and that you hear." - Erwin Zijleman/ de krenten uit de pop nl
- PENDULUM gets 4/5 stars in Dutch Music Mag LUST FOR LIFE! June 2012 ” 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” Henry De Jong (translated from dutch
- "...he’s like an oldtimer folk legend back from the dead." FolkRadioUK
- "...it will soon become one of the essential albums in the collection of any one who cares about music with a bit of heart, a bit of soul and a bit of feeling. This album should come with a warning: once you let it get under your skin you'll not get it out again." Fatea Review / John Hates