FolkWords Reviews

‘Areas of High Traffic’ by Damien O’Kane “…destined to become a classic”

(November 06, 2015)

With a fine understanding of tradition and an equally fine ability to expand with a contemporary touch, Damien O’Kane creates an ancient and modern folk-fusion without a visible seam, on his latest album, ‘Areas of High Traffic’. The result is an impressive areas-of-high-traffic damien-okane-interpretation of heritage allied to innovation. There is of course, the foundation of his Northern Irish homeland running through his music, there’s also the fearlessness to augment convention and in doing so turn out something fresh and new.

Choosing some fine traditional Irish classics, O’Kane is unafraid to write his own tunes to re-map the entire feel of the song. Listen to the bucolic love song ‘The Maid of Seventeen’, the emigrant ballad ‘The Close of an Irish Day’ or the iconic ‘The Banks of The Bann’ to hear just how superbly he works his alchemy. Without doubt, the man possesses a voice that brings out pure meaning from the lyrics in a way that pours life into the songs. The desolate emotion of ‘Erin’s Lovely Home’ and ‘The Green Fields of America’ demand your attention, as do the subtle but nonetheless sparkling renditions with ‘‘Til Next Market Day’ and ‘The Blacksmith’. For good measure, O’Kane includes two self-penned instrumentals with the liquid banjo of ‘The Goddaughter (part1)’ and the delightfully dreamy ‘Interlude For Mama’.

I feel in no danger of going out on a limb by saying that without doubt ‘Areas of High Traffic’ is destined to become a classic.

Playing on ‘Areas of High Traffic’ are Damien O’Kane (vocals, guitars, tenor guitars, banjo) Cormac Byrne (drums, percussion) Anthony Davis (Roland keyboards, bass, synths, piano, electric piano, organ) Steven Iveson (electric guitar) with guest appearances by Kate Rusby (vocals) and Ron Block (banjo). Find the man and his music here: damienokane.co.uk

Review: Tim Carroll

Click here to return to the FolkWords Reviews page