Live’n’loud: Marshall O’kell’s tribute to a great mate ...........
INFUSED with an honest beauty and raw emotion, Marshall OKell’s new album, Birdy, is the product of a rather tough 2012.
OKell’s good mate, producer and sometimes-collaborator Brian ‘‘Birdy’’ Burdett, died in a car accident. A few months later, OKell’s musical and life-inspiring father, Marshall Dawson OKell, lost a long battle with cancer.
‘‘It was a huge roller-coaster that definitely had its low points. I guess the album is a reflection of that year,’’ OKell says.
‘‘Birdy and I spent so many hours working on the album. I think we spent 25 days in the studio together.
‘‘A lot of time went into it, so it’s good to get out and show people what it’s all about.’’
The Lennox Heads-based musician says it was important the songs were lyrically honest.
‘‘We refined and pulled the songs back heaps not to overcook them,’’ he says.
‘‘There’s heaps of space. It’s not as heavy or rocky as the past two albums. It’s more groovy.
‘‘You can understand the songs and lyrics. It makes sense.
‘‘My other albums have been everything from reggae to heavy swamp rock. This one sits under the same rhythmic blanket.’’
OKell formed his first band, The Immortal Flames, when he was 11 years old. He spent his high school years playing Rock Eisteddfods and supporting older working bands and has been a full-time, travelling musician since 2006.
‘‘I usually average between 170 to more than 200 gigs a year. It works out to about four nights a week.’’
Such a rigorous schedule means OKell and his band pride themselves on a ripper live show.
‘‘After travelling so many (kilometres) to get there, we try to treat the gig with the right amount of respect. We dance around a lot and try to include people. It’s lots and lots of fun,’’ he says. ‘‘We let the music go to that special place.’’
– ROSE SADLEIR
Marshall OKell, Tuesday’s Good and Fat Buddha Instinct play The Loft, on Chevron Island, on Saturday night.
Marshall OKell (bottom right) and his touring band.