Morgan O'Kane Nine Lives

Could a banjo revolution be underway? With Old Man Luedecke bringing the instrument some mainstream attention in Canada, he's now got some hefty competition from O'Kane, a Virginia native who's partly built his reputation playing in the NYC subway. What's most apparent on Nine Lives, O'Kane's debut album, is the sheer force of his banjo playing ability. On tracks such as "Time" and "Tallulah May," he's able to lay down a relentless groove that brings the banjo back to its pre-bluegrass origins as a true rhythm instrument. In fact, everything about O'Kane sounds out of time, from the subtle Irish overtones in his style to his gruff, shouted vocals. Nine Lives is simply a stunning glimpse of an artist destined to make a mark in the Americana field in short order. (Independent)