MANKATO — One of Mankato’s most prolific songwriters is marking a milestone on Friday.
David O’Connell -- a.k.a. Ocho -- is releasing his first volume of greatest hits during a release party at Savoy.
“Listening to some of my old songs, they’re not what I’d do now,” said the veteran of the Mankato music scene. “But I’m glad I did ‘em then.”
Ocho’s greatest hits album represents his best from 2003 to present, a span that includes nine CDs. He’ll also be releasing “Covered and Uncovered,” which is a compilation of Ocho originals that have been covered by other Mankato bands as well as a few unreleased tracks.
Ocho’s songwriting is certainly unique in the Mankato area.
Blending pleasing acoustic melodies with a gimlet eye for the ironies and absurdities of contemporary culture, Ocho has cast himself as something of a folk satirist.
On his track “I Don’t Want to Go to Walmart,” Ocho croons about materialism taken to slovenly excess inside America’s favorite big-box retailer: “I don’t want to go to Walmart/Not even a little bit/Too much of everything/And I want none of it.” On “That’s Inanimate,” he sings to those who whisper sweet nothings to potted plants and ride plastic giraffes.
Still other tracks -- like “Instead,” which is Ocho’s response to the cultural criticisms he so often sings about -- feature a more vulnerable songwriter, whose cynicism seems veiled with a boyish sense of hope.
Though Ocho admitted he still likes all the songs he’s recorded, he said he produced the greatest hits album as much for pragmatic reasons as sentimental ones.
“I suppose a lot of it is that I have 9 CDs and it’s hard to keep them all print,” he said. “Sometimes, I don’t know what to send radio stations.”
In addition to his solo work, Ocho also appears in a variety of other bands, including Near-vana (a Nirvana tribute band) and a four-piece acoustical group called Rain Dogs, among others. He also hosts several open mic nights in town and raps under the name 8 Wonders.