Drummer John Hovan is joined by singer Michell McLean as part of the new sound of O'Hara Lane

New members revive O’Hara Lane

Port Moody's Michelle and Darren McLean breathe new life into the band.

O’Hara Lane has risen from the ashes – the band, that is, not the well-known Crescent Beach thoroughfare.

Drummer John Hovan’s newly-revived group will be showcased this Saturday (July 28) at the Royal Canadian Legion Crescent Branch 240, 2643 128 St.

After weathering numerous local incarnations of the group over the the years, Hovan was on the verge of disbanding O’Hara Lane a few months ago – until his long-time associate, bassist and vocalist Greg Koop, introduced him to Port Moody’s Michelle and Darren McLean.

The dynamic singing of Michelle and the creative guitar licks of her husband, Darren have given new life to the enterprise, bonding instantly with the solid rhythm section of Hovan and Koop to create an exciting new sound and feel.

The combination had its informal local debut June 2 at the fundraiser for Ellaray – the young South Surrey girl who continues to undergo multiple surgeries to correct a rare skin condition.

And judging by the enthusiastic crowd response to the new sound at that event, also held at the legion, the band’s first formal show should be a wow.

“I do feel really confident that anyone who comes to see us will be entertained,” said Michelle, whose presence alone fronting the band has been acknowledged a game-changer.

Joining O’Hara Lane has been a boost for the McLeans too, she said – the quintessential right combination of circumstances at the right time.

“We’ve known Greg for around 20 years – we used to play together in a band years ago,” she said.

“He phoned Darren and I and said ‘do you want to jam some time?’ We did and we had a great time – so great that we wondered ‘why aren’t we doing this again?’

“We ended up going over to Johnny’s place one night and jamming and the energetic feel of the chemistry blew our socks off. We’ve never jammed like that where it jelled so well.”

The fact that they are all seasoned players has been important – adding to the feeling they get that everyone has been playing together for years, Michelle said.

That’s literally the case with herself and Darren, she added.

“He actually took guitar lessons from my stepfather – I’ve known him since I was 10 years old,” she said.

“When I was 17, I went to audition for a band I met him again and found out he was already in the band,” she said.

“We ended up being in another band together, which is when we met with Greg.”

The reaction O’Hara Lane received at the fundraiser for Ellaray was an instant confirmation the new combination could connect with an audience, Michelle said.

“It was pretty incredible,” she said.

“We were there for a specific reason, to respect and support Ellaray, but musically, I think it’s fair to say we brought the house down. The floor was packed and everybody was dancing.

“All of this has been almost as if it is inevitable.”

The instant rapport they struck with Hovan also has something to do with the fact that they’re all at a similar place in their lives, Michelle said.

“I think as careers and families and money take precedence, we all tend to put music on a back-burner for a while. But, whatever the reason, now is the time to do it again.”

Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show at 9 p.m. For ticket information, call 604-535-1080.


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