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Kane, Welch & Kaplan Show True American Roots on 'Lost John Dean'


Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch have both been making music for years. Kane enjoyed the most high-profile success as a member of the 1980s hit country duo The O'Kanes, while Welch received raves for the albums he released in the early-1990s. Today, Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch are performing as a trio with multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplan. VOA's Katherine Cole reports the group is drawing on the sounds of traditional folk music on their new album, "Lost John Dean."

The songs on Lost John Dean are a bit starker and darker than you may be used to hearing from Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch. Nine of the albums 11 cuts are originals, with the title tune a traditional American folk ballad that tells the story of a bank robber who eludes the posse on his trail.

Kieran Kane sings lead on the title track to Lost John Dean, the new CD he's recorded with Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan. 'Lost John Dean,' also known as "Kentucky Blues," is one of the two cover songs on this new record. The others are all originals, new songs that sound like they could have been written 75 or 100 years ago. This recording has a real traditional feel. But, as heard on "Postcard from Mexico," which features Kieran and Kevin trading verses, a traditional feel does not mean old and dusty.

It is hard to put a name to the kind of music Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan are making on Lost John Dean. While some might call it "country," this is not the same kind of country music that is popular in Nashville. It is a good example of what Americana, or American Roots Music is all about: A bit of the blues, mixed with traditional country, folk and rock. Great harmony singing, especially on "I Can't Wait," compliments the superior musicianship on the CD.

Like Bruce Springsteen with his recent release of songs made famous by Pete Seeger, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan have produced an album that can be entertainment for both adults and younger music fans. And, like Springsteen's release, Lost John Dean, might be the catalyst that drives some to dig deeper into the rich history of American Roots Music.

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