Brendan O'Hara
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Brendan O'Hara

Hollywood, Florida, United States

Hollywood, Florida, United States
Pop Acoustic

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"One of the best I've received in a long time. Sounds like a young Ben Harper or Jeff Buckley". - KCRW-FM in California


"A standout is Brendan O’Hara, also a musician, as the Paper Dolls’ sweetnatured hanger-on who pines after Reggie." on Brendan's Acting Performance in "Down and Out with the Dolls" - Los Angeles Times, Kevin Thomas


There's a new piano man in town, and like Billy Joel, New Jersey transplant and Hollywood resident Brendan O'Hara is a hopeful romantic. The singer-songwriter's band, which includes a boy guru who narrates poetically between songs, is called the Humble Ones; their newly released Perceptive Inception, a 20-song disc of lite-rock originals, tackles everything from the standard (falling in love) to the controversial (FCATs).

O'Hara writes all the tunes, sings, plays piano, even raps a bit. Jon Weiner (drums) and Billy B. Bowin (bass) join him on six of the 20 tracks; the rest are solo affairs. Undiluted and unplugged, O'Hara's piano is clean, fluid, and versatile, his singing euphoric and commanding. Given his jazzy touch, Van Morrison comparisons are inevitable, but O'Hara's voice is graver. Pensive, piano-driven gems include the ragtime "Ms. Susie" -- one of many love songs on the disc -- and the early-Joel-sounding "Red, White and Blues," a protest-lament for war dead.

The funky, easygoing "À la Mode" is the album's catchiest tune. Here, O'Hara gets philosophical in a nonsensical sort of way, singing: "Some people say it's about getting your cake and eating it too/I got to say it's paving my own way/It's making my own road/Who likes cake anyway?/Give me that good old apple pie à la mode." - New Times, Mekeda Selah


On a Roll
Brendan O'Hara and the Humble Ones settle just long enough to make their mark on South Florida.
By Larry Carrino
Article Published Apr 6, 2006


"Stick around too much and people won't miss you," Brendan O'Hara muses over drinks on Hollywood Beach, where the 24-year-old singer/songwriter/activist has settled down for close to two years. That's after a case of wanderlust had taken him to cities on both coasts since he left New Jersey in 1998. But talk to him about South Florida and he smiles big.

O'Hara doesn't hide his emotions well, one-on-one or in his music. He's got all the swagger of a ready-made celebrity and the looks to boot — long dark hair, scruffy beard and goatee, improbably white teeth, paint-splattered T-shirt and jeans, and a gold-flecked fedora. It would be easy to assume that the name of his backing band, the Humble Ones — bassist Billy B. Bowin and drummer Jon Weiner — was a toss-off, something that just sounded good after his name. When I suggest to O'Hara that he doesn't act like the "quiet, lovable loser" he suggests he is, he nods. "You're right," he says, motioning to Bowin and Weiner. "They're the humble ones."

Formed in January 2005, the trio has become one of South Florida's most earnest live acts, clocking in three-hour shows of original material and building a wellspring of good karma due to their philanthropic endeavors. "I was always a performer," O'Hara says of his early days spent doing community theater and learning music from his grandfather, a "beatnik" who played ragtime and boogie-woogie piano. "He was the most original thinker I ever met and a great musician. He was the life of the party. If he spent a few minutes with somebody, they instantly felt like a friend, and he definitely knew how to command attention."

Seeking attention of his own, O'Hara joined the City Kids Repertory Company in Jersey, crediting his trouble-making skills with landing meaty rolls in the company's socially minded performances. "They gave me the lead so they could keep an eye on me," he says. In fact, O'Hara blames "high jinks" for his earliest works of public service. After Peter Jennings' anti-drug prime-time TV special the Repertory taped, he stole the rainbow-colored rolling papers from the paraphernalia segment. When his family moved to Seattle, he didn't show up for the plane. "I was born rebellious," O'Hara says, and some of that rebellious streak wormed its way into his music.

Driven to "capture the moment rather than get all nostalgic about the past," he began writing and noodling with a guitar but found the piano a more reliable vehicle for his reflections. He eventually moved to L.A., where he enjoyed a brief role as Ashton Kutcher's stand-in on That '70s Show but was enticed by frequent visits to Miami. "My friends called me 'Drive-By.' I'd fly in for the summer, make a mess of things, then fly out," he says. When subway-station gigs in New York didn't pay the bills, he relocated to South Florida in 2004 and looked to form a band.

Enter Bowin, an accomplished guitar player and art teacher at the Arts Academy of Hollywood, where O'Hara teaches drama and music. "Moving to Florida allowed me to become a better musician and actually make a living," O'Hara says. In fact, unlike many local artists who bemoan the state of live music in South Florida, O'Hara and his Humble Ones embrace it. "The scene may be more fragmented here than in Seattle or New York, but that's worked for us," offers Weiner, who teamed with O'Hara and Bowin early last year. "There's far less 'pay to play' here. As a result, we got to play a lot more and were able to develop a following. And it's our experience that since there's fewer venues, it's easier to weed out the unpassionate musicians."

For musicians who speak of "rarely practicing" in the classic sense, the trio is tight, finishing one another's sentences and embracing a jam-band, improvisational-style in its performances. The group rarely plays tracks from its first studio album, Perceptive Inception, as they were recorded. "We play the songs the way they feel that night. Sometimes it's reggae; sometimes it's rock," O'Hara says. That off-the-cuff merriment, buoyed by the band's sound — a sonic stew of jazz, saloon-style swing, pop, rock, and hip-hop — has allowed the trio to get political without alienating folks just looking to get down.

"The album captures the vibe we have when we play live and honors what we do [socially]," Weiner says, including an array of benefit concerts and fundraisers, combating everything from AIDS in Africa to world hunger. "We like to think that the work we do for charity is representative of the fact that we're conscious about what's going on around us," Weiner says. "We're invested in charity work because circumstances compel us to be," adds O'Hara, citing his mother, a nurse practitioner who has worked in Africa for the CDC, as inspiration. "I don't know how you read the paper every day and - New Times - Broward/Palm Beach


King of Beerfests
Beerfest brings out the best in Fort Lauderdale
By Jonathan Zwickel
Article Published Apr 13, 2006

....Billy Bowen, bassist, Brendan O'Hara and the Humble Ones: "PBR in a can. You can take the boy out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the boy."

Brendan O'Hara, singer, guitarist, keysman, Brendan O'Hara and the Humble Ones (duh): "I used to have an Australian fake ID, and this is the easiest thing to say in an Australian accent: 'Can Oi haff a Widmer Hefeweizen?'"

By the time BOH&THO hit the stage at 10 p.m., many of the tents had — gasp! — run out of beer. That fact, coupled with the band's good-natured, infectious vibe, attracted a huge crowd reveling in the kind of perfect buzz only drunk-dancing under the stars with 1,000 of your closest friends can provide. South Florida, this is your life. Drink up.

Correction: Last week, we improperly credited the photo of Brendan O'Hara and the Humble Ones. The picture was taken by Laura Bartick.
- New Times - Broward/Palm Beach


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

BRENDAN O'HARA
Mix a little Billy Joel with the Beastie Boys, a little John Lennon with John Legend, a dash of Dave Matthews with a dollop of Dave Grohl, An accent of The Avett Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, refresh with Ray Charles and Ray LaMontagne...shake. passionately. serve chilled. delicious.
Basically a Piano man with lyrical playfulness performing love songs and social consciousness with a soulful delivery. Strumming a haunting guitar but always with light hearted banter, four on the floor driving Americana with classic pocket American Swagger on songs with Old School charisma and New school charm. These are the ingredients needed to infuse ROOTS-ROCK.
His road experience has taught Brendan that each unique performance calls for a singular focus. A festival vibe in the afternoon is obviously much different than the cocktail set late in the evening...but once awake to the vibe and willing to enter, the options are endless and it's with comfort that Brendan takes to the microphone.
Believing that nothing compares to a live performance- where the sweat and the soul of the song are the bridge between the crooner and the crowd- Brendan O'Hara performs passionately and every chance he has. Based in and around Miami yet always ready to hit the road when duty calls Brendan can be seen solo or with an exceptional and accomplished band! Brendan the troubadour has played classic singer/songwriter venues The Bitter End, The Stone Pony, Churchill's Pub, The Living Room, The Hotel Cafe, and Genghis Cohen, as well as He has sold out Miami's historic Colony Theater when releasing "Champagne and Apple Juice" with The Big Bounce- rocked back to his roots to a capacity crowd releasing "Embrace Chaos"- and continues a weekly residency on the piano at The Regent Cocktail Club. Named best acoustic performer twice in Miami by The New Times, and Almost Famous by Ocean Drive Magazine- the Miami Herald has declared his very uncharacteristically Miami show's "not to be missed." Brendan has shared the stage with G. Love and Special Sauce, Talib Kweli, and Matisyahu, and opened for Common and even Snoop Dogg! Brendan has also sang the national anthem at the Sony Tennis Open 4 times in five years, and done a ton of charity and fundraising events close to his heart, or at the very least to the hearts of those around him! Whatever the size of venue or crowd- whatever the occasion- and whether on stage or in the club Brendan O'Hara with or without the O'Hellyeahs use modern technology and acoustic instruments to rock the house.
SOLO- B performs with Acoustic Piano/Electric Piano/ acoustic-electric Guitar/ a lap top, kick drum and Vocals with effects...
WITH BAND- Acoustic and synth bass, a small trap kit and big boom drum pad- electric guitar and saxaphone all combine to get that O'HELLYEAH sound!
Both Brendan and The O'Hellyeahs! are now performing in support of the studio album "Embrace Chaos"- a modern album of thoughtful love liberation records!

BRENDAN O'HARA (Soulo)
B has been committed to redefining modern Bebop as an all-original blend of jazzy-blue-folk-pop with a hip-drop flavor. That means it’s jazzy but not jazz. It is soulful and bluesy, but neither entirely soul, nor all blues. It’s conscious, but not certainly folk, and maintains a pop sensibility not at the expense of its playful nature. Blending these styles is as much a look into Brendan's diverse interests and influences, as it is a reflection of the eclectic tastes of today’s music fan. These songs are played on guitar and piano with brendan's deeply driven voice on top.

Brendan tours both coasts (and in between) playing to crowds at venues like the legendary Bitter End and Ella Lounge in NYC, Molly Malone's and The Hotel Cafe in LA, Eddie's Attic and Vinyl in Atlanta, Revolution in Fort Lauderdale, The Florida Room at the Historic Delano Hotel-Miami and now on circuit through many of the venues that have popped up all over miami since it's blossoming cultural renaissance. Embrace Chaos is an album with songs so carefully crafted they can be delivered solo or with accompaniment!

B and his band of merry pranksters are also socially conscious, they’ve kindly volunteered their time and talents in support of Tsunami and Hurricane Relief, The Race For the Cure, the famine relief for children in AIDS stricken Africa, and Children's Education Reform!

Brendan was a contestant on the inaugural season of Fox TV's X- Factor.
And may, just may, be on another televised talent competition soon- so get to know him- in whatever capacity he's coming with- it's honest and always fresh.
For more information, please visit www.brendanohara.org