In the 1970’s, Danny O’Keefe put out a string of albums that cemented his reputation as being among the best songwriters of his generation. These days, casual fans know him best for his Top Ten hit “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues” or Jackson Browne’s version of “The Road” from the classic Running On Empty album. But the story didn’t end in the 70’s. He continued to release the occasional album and recently returned with In Time, his first solo release in nine years.
Danny’s songs have been recorded by a Who’s Who of artists over the last thirty plus years: Elvis Presley, Cab Calloway, Charlie Rich, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Earl Klugh, Chris Hillman, Conway Twitty, Leon Russell, Dwight Yoakam, Jerry Lee Lewis and Milt Hinton. But that’s just who recorded “Good Time Charlie.” Other credits include Alison Krauss (“Never Got Off The Ground”), Jimmy Buffett (“Souvenirs”), Nickel Creek (“When You Come Back Down”), Judy Collins (“Angel Spread Your Wings”), Donny Hathaway (“Magdalena”), John Denver (“Along for the Ride”), Gary Stewart (“Quits”), Sheena Easton (“Next to You”), Jesse Colin Young (“Night School“), Chris Smither (“Steel Guitar “), Ute Lemper (“You Look Just Like A Girl Again”) and Alan Jackson (“Anywhere on Earth You Are”). “Well, Well, Well,” which Danny wrote with Bob Dylan, has been recorded by Ben Harper, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Bonnie Raitt and David Lindley.
As someone who knows about writing, author Tom Robbins says, “As darkly seasoned with raw experience as it is brilliantly inlaid with poetic insight, O’Keefe’s work this past decade constitutes the most moving musical meditations since Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind. Unblinking, hammer-hard, love-wise and haunting, these songs stay alive in the mind and the heart long after the laser has moved on.”
The admiration doesn’t stop in literary corners, though. Danny’s reputation among his peers says volumes. Michael McDonald, who co-wrote a song on the new record, describes Danny’s affinity for folk, country , jazz and more here: “Danny O’Keefe takes his rightful place in that ingenious and enigmatic tradition of unfettered poetic American song writing. Often traditional feeling music that is never completely identified with, or tied to, any one genre. (He writes) the kind of songs that ring with that sense of being classic and enduring, always having much to tell us lyrically. Working with Danny for me is a source of great pride because I truly think of him as one of the greats.”
Here’s a final word from country, Celtic and folk singer and multi-instrumentalist, Tim O’Brien, “Look in the dictionary under “singer songwriter” and you’ll see a picture of Danny O’Keefe. His is the complete package: a strong performer with a batch of amazing songs. His guitar and voice lead you beyond ditty world, deep into the land of poetry.”