Song Premiere: Okonski, “Song For My Sister’s Son”

The studio at 122 West Loveland Avenue was not an unfamiliar space for Steve Okonski, the leader of his eponymous trio Okonski.  Ever since the Colemine label set up shop in Loveland, Ohio it has been a host to a number of groups passing through town, including Durand Jones and the Indications who all of this trio’s members have connections to.  After setting aside some time in winter of 2020, Okonski, trained initially as a classical pianist, invited Michael Isvara “Ish” Montgomery and Aaron Frazer to work on an album that was initially planned to be beat driven and fully composed trio instrumentals.

After finishing this first session with some improvisations, a second week was booked in the summer of 2021 to try and capture some more of that spontaneous energy.  During this session, the tracks were all improvised and recorded live to a Tascam 388 during several late nights at the Colemine HQ. They were structured to allow the group’s collective intuition to fully shape the melodies and arcs of the music.

On February 24th Okonski will release Magnolia via Colemine Records. After releasing the first single “Dark Moon,” the band has dropped their latest single “Song For My Sister’s Son.” Okonski says on the track, “’Song for My Sister’s Son’ was written for my sister’s son, Otis, who was born shortly before the recording sessions for this album.  To me, the simple melody makes it feels like a lullaby, with calming moments of cascading piano lines over the constant ride cymbal and bass movement helping propel the song forward.  I think it’s the most unique song on the record and evokes a happiness and calmness from front to back.”

Magnolia was composed from the heart and from the spirit of those in the studio those late nights in Loveland. It is the culmination of an emotional and artistic release that was not afforded or recognized before the band sat at their instruments, and because of that it is introspective, meditative, spiritual, and new.

Photo Courtesy: Don Panicko