About Michael O'Neill

Showcasing a new collection with a previously un-released Townes Van Zandt song as the title track, this singer/songwriter with a “roots-rock” history and a soulful ease carries his listener into a time and place reminiscent of steel strings, guitar heroes, and great story-tellers like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. One of 13 children, he got started in music early. At the age of 24, he cut his teeth opening his first tour for a then-unknown band called U2.

By the time the tour ended in Los Angeles, O'Neill found himself signed with legendary manager Don Arden, (father of Sharon Osbourne). O'Neill put together a band that featured a young John Shanks, (now superstar producer of Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, Vertical Horizon, etc.), Kenny Gradney (Little Feat), and jazz saxophonist, Boney James.

He spent the better part of the next ten years touring with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn and penning songs with Bob Weir, Steve Cropper (Booker T. and The MG's), and Jason Scheff (Chicago).

Part country crooner, part haggard storyteller, O'Neill makes a noise that is refreshingly classic.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

An Outlaw From Tennessee - the man who killed Robert Ford, Ed O'Kelley

Nashville, TN and surrounding areas have been hit by a flood that has not received enough National press coverage. Please text 'REDCROSS' to 90999 to donate $10 to disaster relief for victims of Nashville flood.

Jesse James was a hero to many Southerners so Robert Ford, the man who betrayed and killed him, had many enemies. Ford and his brother, Charley, joined the James Gang in 1882 and lived with him for a time. Ford shot him in the back of the head for a cash reward and moved on.

In 1892, while Ford was opening his tent saloon in Colorado, his luck in escaping retaliation ran out. A Tennessean named Ed O'Kelley was drinking in his bar one morning. Ford recognized him as a man who had sworn revenge for Jesse James' death years before. He tried to have him arrested on false charges of stealing a gold ring to get him out of the way. Instead, O'Kelley was released and returned, angry with a shotgun. "Hello Bob," he greeted and, as Ford turned around, he shot and killed him instantly.

O'Kelley had migrated to Colorado from Missouri. He was marshal of Bachelor City and deputy sheriff of Hinsdale County. More known for his horrific temper than upholding the law, he was also known as "Red". He was rumored to have shot a man in Pueblo, Co. because he'd stepped on his toes by accident.

O'Kelley never came out and said exactly why he shot Ford. Most agreed that he had vowed retribution at the time of Jesse's death. Some also said an infamous con man, Soapy Smith had told him he'd be famous if he did, a hero to everyone. He had known the James family when in Missouri, though whether or not he spent a short time as a member of the gang is disputed. His family's website says he was married to a relative of the Younger's.

After shooting Ford, he was convicted of murder a few months later and sentenced to life in prison. Most say he was surprised to be penalized, that he really had thought he'd be a hero. He was, to some. He was released after ten years due to health issues. Friends from Missouri had helped him gain a pardon.

He then moved to Oklahoma City, where rumors soon spread that he was a dangerous man. These are supposed to have been instigated and fueled by an old friend of Ford's, Otto Ewing, who ran a gambling house. Some said Ewing had been there when Ford died.

In 1903, after only a year away from prison, O'Kelley was arrested as a 'suspicious character'. After his release, he began making open threats against the officer who had arrested him. He was again arrested, in a known criminal hangout, in 1904. Again, he threatened retribution.

In 1904, he intercepted his arch nemesis, Officer Joe Burnett, while he was walking his beat. O'Kelley drew a revolver and the two fought. None of his bullets hit Burnett, but when he ran out of ammo, still bent on revenge, he bit off pieces of the policeman's ears. One of O'Kelley's friends arrived and shot at the policeman but also missed. Ultimately, a railroad baggage man grabbed O'Kelley's hand and freed Burnett's gun hand. Burnett then shot and killed the man who'd killed Robert Ford.

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