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The O'Kanes

The Only Years – 2000 (Lucky Dog)

Reviewed by Henry Koretzky

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CDs by The O'Kanes

Remember, if you can, back to a time when country music had room for lively, intelligent recordings with acoustic roots, sweet harmonies, intelligent songwriting, and a pair of handsome heads that didn't need to have cowboy hats glued to them. That would be the O'Kanes, Jamie O'Hara and Kieran Kane, who left a fine legacy through a few albums made just over a decade ago.

This is a collection of 10 of their best songs, and, while the packaging is minimal and the documentation virtually nonexistent, it's great to hear how fresh their sound is today. They had a knack for capturing a gently rocking groove, and songs like "One True Love" and "Oh Darlin'" masterfully channel their sibling-like vocal mix, augmented with touches like Kane's ringing mandolin and subtle inflections of accordion over the jangly guitar/bass/drums foundation.

The haunting moods of "This Ain't Love" and "Bluegrass Blues" are as moving as the wistful gratitude of "All Because of You" and the Everly-like beauty of "When I Found You." While O'Hara and Kane are still contributing to the worlds of Americana and country, the O'Kanes were a duo with a special sound all their own.