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Kane, Welch, Kaplin stay in the mood

By Jason MacNeil, July 2006

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Kane says working in such close quarters with Kaplin and Welch led to everything being done in one shot. "We don't use headphones or anything," he says. "We're close enough that we can hear each other playing and can respond in kind. It makes it so that you can't fix anything on a record like that. If I sang or played a riff that was really out of whack, we'd have to do the whole thing over again. You couldn't just take my part out because it bled into every other microphone in the room."

The album cover "Lost John Dean" is also notable for the fact it's a painting done by Kane. He also created the cover art for the trio's debut. "You Can't Save Everybody." He says the cover wasn't inspired by the music, but ended up being a fortunate coincidence.

"The paintings don't really have anything to do with the record. They're paintings that I have and that I've done," Kane says. "I don't really like doing photo shoots so it's good in that regard. Honestly, with the 'You Can't Save Everybody' record, we were making it last summer. I said to Fats and Kevin, 'I got a painting that I think would work. If you guys don't like it, then that's fine.' They looked at it, and they loved it. So we used it. We did the exact same thing with this one."

Both musicians have been around for decades, with Kane getting his first inroads in country circles teaming up with Jamie O'Hara to form The O'Kanes. They had hits including the number 1 song "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You," "Daddies Need To Grow Up Too" and "Just Lovin' You" in 1987.

Welch, who's had songs performed by Moe Bandy and Waylon Jennings, earned some major label success with tracks like "Something 'Bout You" and "Til I See You Again" with his 1989 self-titled album and 1990's "Western Beat." Welch says he's learned quite a bit from Kane over the years.

"One of the enjoyable things that I've watched Kieran do over the years, since all the way back to The O'Kanes, is he's kind of constantly paring things down, constantly getting more minimal without sacrificing anything," he says. "In fact, it makes things stronger. There's nothing I like better than a Kieran Kane song that has one chord and no rhymes and a groove. He's one of the grooving-est players I've ever played with in my life."

And like most musicians who are established now as quality performers and singer-songwriters, they make a living doing what they do best despite not having the huge machine of larger multinational record labels - at one point, Kane and Welch helped form their own label, dead reckoning, well before it became fashionable for artists to do it on their own - behind them. Both say that they're not sure if they were starting out in music today what would happen.

"I don't really know the answer to that," Kane says. "I presume I would be the same person, but from the business end of things in Nashville, the writing and the publishing end, things are a lot tougher now then when I first moved here and started out writing here. They were more open to different kinds of songs, and they weren't all eaten up with this idea that every record has to sound exactly the same."

"There wasn't as much money involved. When I moved here, to make a country record cost $50,000, and that was a lot of money. Now it's not unusual for it to cost $500,000 and spend half a million promoting it. That kind of money, it just wouldn't happen. I assume I would be playing music because that's the only other thing I can do."

Kane, Welch, Kaplin and Kane's drumming son Lucas will spend the summer on tour. When they're not on tour, Welch has some solo shows lined up. And while both are pleased with the response and feedback "Lost John Dean" is receiving, Welch says a third album is already in the works. "Kieran has been writing like crazy. He's got a ton of new songs," Welch says.

"This time I need to make sure I come in packing. We're going to go back and make a new record really soon here. We're just in the mood."

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