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Lisa O’Kane - It Don’t Hurt 
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

That roots rocker from Fish Camp, California, Lisa O’Kane, is back with her latest album, It Don’t Hurt. O’Kane has consistently turned in quality work, this album is no exception, yet she just falls short of deserved wider acclaim. Pity. Well regarded in Europe, the singer songwriter, with three albums now to her credit, is yet to fully capture the broader global market. This album should help change that. 

And so it should.

O’Kane isn’t a rhinestone wannabee; she’s a talented and earnest voice that claims a captive listen with songs that reveal, challenge and probe. And she does it with a style that’s spirited and emotive. Add to the mix, a host of playing notables like guitarists Albert Lee and Kenny Edwards, keyboardist Skip Edwards, bassist Edward Tree, who serves double duty as producer, and add 11 carefully polished and chosen songs and the album is, simply, a winner.

“It took me months and hundreds of songs to finally pare down on these 11 songs, three of which are mine, “reveals the Barbara Streisand influenced singer.

The album opens with the O’Kane co-write (Mark Fosson) “Ain’t Done Nothin’”. The energetic toe-tapper, featuring Albert Lee weaving some fret magic, is the first cut to radio. It’s a good choice. Telling of fractured love that has O’Kane telling her wayward beau to “…pack your suitcase and give me the key to my door – get in your pickup and head toward the I-64…” if radio jumps, and they should, the song could lead to possibilities.

Dig deeper into the album and O’Kane’s talent becomes obvious. Former postman, John Prine, should be smiling. The royalty check is on the way. O’Kane, sensitive and melodic, works wonders with his “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness,” making the cut a standout. Another winner, both vocally and lyrically, is another O’Kane/Fosson co-write, the fiddle-rich and harmony-driven “I’m Done”.

One of this album’s joys is the ache, the misery, the suffer-in-silence female perspective O’Kane paints into her songs. To coin another review writer:”…the catch in the voice, the hint of a sob, the bending of a note, a gospel-like quality to her phrasing…” It’s an honest reflection of a lady who feels what she sings, and delivers the outcome with a pull that compels.

Need proof? Listen to the title cut. The sparsity of the track (guitar, cello and harmony) paired to revealing and sobering truths, that of domestic abuse, “It Don’t Hurt” is haunting. Further proof O’Kane has the vocal grit to stamp emotional value on the tunes she brings to this album. The writer, Ernest Troost, who provides backing guitar, would be proud of the sensitive effort given to his poignant tune.

O’Kane consistently turns in quality work. The voice is tender and emotionally driven, spurred on with a mixture of crafted and charged songs. Two thumbs up and four stars.

The album will be released in the U.S. October 23.


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