Our Damien nominated for ‘Best Album’ in BBC Radio awards

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Damien O’Kane’s extraordinary album ‘Areas of High Traffic’ has been shortlisted in the “Best Album” category in the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

The talented Coleraine man now lives in England, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten his roots.

BBC Broadcaster Mark Radcliffe revealed five nominees for the Best Album of 2015 accolade, and O’Kane will go head to head with Show of Hands, False Lights, Lynched and The Unthanks.

The winner will be announced at The Royal Albert Hall on April 27.

The nominees were decided by the judging panel of industry experts but the final decision will be made by the public with voting opening on a Radio 2 website this evening until Friday, February 19.

With a pervading theme of emigration and homeland nostalgia, ‘Areas of High Traffic’ is the first solo album in five years from the Yorkshire-based Ulsterman, following on from Summer Hill (2010) and the media accolades have been rolling in.

Extraordinary and unexpected after what went before, this new album sees O’Kane - an outstanding banjo and guitar player - throwing in a number of curve balls, aided and abetted by his fine band - Steven Iveson (electric guitars), Anthony Davis (keyboards, synths, pads), stand-out percussionist Cormac Byrne and a guest appearance on one track by American bluegrass banjo wizard Ron Block (Alison Krauss and Union Station).