CATCHING UP WITH... THE O'KANES

If you're waiting for a reunion of The O'Kanes, you may be waiting in vain. Kieran Kane, whose partnership with Jamie O'Hara yielded six straight Top 10 hits in the late 1980s before they called it a day, reveals there are no plans to rekindle the critically acclaimed singing/songwriting duo.

"I don't know how much interest there would be," admits Kieran, speaking on behalf of Jamie. "We had some really good press and decent record sales for the time, but it really wasn't a big deal in terms of the public."

Some may beg to differ, judging by the debut success in 1986 of "Oh, Darlin'," which went to No. 10 on the country charts and was followed the duo's only No. 1, "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You." The O'Kanes' frugal, roots-flavored arrangements and strong Everly Brothers-inspired harmonies resulted in four more Top 10 hits, including "Just Lovin' You" and "One True Love."

But after the poor chart showing of "Rocky Road," Kieran confides that he and Jamie hit a crossroads.

"We spent so much time talking about record companies and producers and going on the road that it had really taken us away from our job - which was to write songs and make records," Kieran explains. "The career had taken us away from the reason The O'Kanes had existed in the first place. So we quit."

Successful as songwriters before they met, Queens, N.Y., native Kieran had scored a couple of Top 20 hits with "You're the Best" and "It's Who You Love" in 1981, and had written the John Conlee chart-topper "As Long As I'm Rockin' With You." Jamie, from Toledo, Ohio, won a Best Country Song Grammy for The Judds' "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)."

Following the O'Kanes' demise, Kieran released a series of solo CDs including his newest, Shadows on the Ground. He frequently travels to a cabin in upstate New York where he paints and writes songs. He's also placed songs on albums by Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood and George Jones. Although he doesn't talk often with Jamie, Kieran says they make up for lost time whenever they do connect.

"We're most definitely friends," says Kieran. "There's never been any trouble between us at all. It was just a mutual decision, and we're both happy and satisfied with that decision. I'm proud of the work we did together."

Story by Nick Krewen

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