It would be hard to describe Nine Lives as anything other than uplifting. Brooklyn based O'Kane's music comes from the mountains. A mix of Appalachian Folk, Bluegrass and Zydeco all played with an intensity and passion that is hard to resist. The Banjo is O'Kane's weapon of choice and he uses it along side his gruff vocals to take you on a journey into his world of characters and stories from the flip side of America. In terms of production, well... there isn't really any. What you get is raw and unpolished and surprisingly all the better for it.
When O'Kane lets rip like on Gone it is hard to keep your feet still and indeed this is the case with much of the fifteen tracks on this album but it also suffers from a sameness. Given the Banjo's dominance throughout it leaves little scope for variation and does detract a little from the undeniable infectiousness of this record. Tallulah May is a contender for stand out track with an old suitcase finding itself being used as a bass drum just to help drive everything along while the same tactic is employed on the unfeasibly fast Snug Life.
Listened to as a whole this is a far more satisfying album than if you just dip in and out but as previously said it suffers from a sameness that borders on repetition. It is only on the last track, Sail Away, where the Fiddle and Dobro are allowed to match the Banjo in the spotlight and the difference is instantly noticeable.
Despite its short comings this is still a hugely enjoyable album with a definite feel good factor.