Ross Breen
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Ross Breen

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Local Songwriter Ross Breen releases CD"

Leixlip songwriter Ross Breen will be launching his own CD, entitled '3 Songs' on the night of his next gig in Whelan's with a full band on Sunday, 1st May.

Ross can be heard locally next week though as he will be playing solo at legendary Freddie White's performance at the Open Zone gig in the new venue of the O Zone nightclub (Wednesday 27th).

Ross is currently setting up his own website and record label on which he will release '3 Songs'.

The troubadour in the smart suit and trilby hat has been busily building a fan base over the past few years, supporting established artists such as Bell x1, Damien Dempsey, Sinead O' Connor, Gordon Giltrap, Mundy, Declan O' Rourke and Glen Hansard.

He has also supported Juliet Turner, Freddie White, Mic Christopher, Q, Maria Doyle Kennedy and Mary Coughlan on his travels as well as drawing ever increasing crowds to his gigs in Dublin venues like Whelan's, the Voodoo Lounge and Eamon Doran's.

'3 Songs' was recorded over two days in Apollo studios, Temple Bar last year. It features a full band including drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, saxophone, trumpet and accordian.

"It's basically a sample of what I do, made and presented as professionally as possible," said Ross. "The three songs are 'Jigsaw', 'I Fish On My Side.' and 'Happy Happy Happy Happy Happy'. These would be some of the more immediately accessible songs in my collection, so they'd be better suited for airplay and promotional purposes," he said.

"Jigsaw is a loud and dark blues/rock song, I Fish On My Side is a historical satire in lounge jazz style and Happy Happy is a frenetic, madcap ska-pop action song."

"I set up a little label called 'r works' to it out on. I'm going to sell it at gigs, through my website (rossbreen.com) and possibly in some record shops as well. It's just about getting my name and music into the public arena and creating some interest for an album." - Liffey Champion


"Interview with Ross Breen"

Grainne Faller meets Ross Breen, a Ballyfermot student with a lot of potential...

There must be something in the water in Leixlip - Dave Geraghty from Bell X1, Damien Rice, Tadhg Cooke and at least one member of the Future Kings of Spain all hail from that area.

Now another Leixlip native, Ross Breen, is breaking into the Dublin scene and is proving to be an interesting twist on the singer-songwriter theme. He has his own theories about Leixlip.

"The water's a bit smelly alright but I suppose the real reason is that it's a little bit boring so more people stay in their rooms playing their guitars."

A quiet character, he chats away well enough but it's an interesting contrast to the performer on the stage.

In Voodoo a couple of weeks ago, he was dressed like an English country gentleman ready for a spot of shooting or fishing. Unfortunately, a lot of the wit was lost and the music muffled - it was Voodoo after all - the voice was something to behold. He knows he's good. The confidence on stage is understated but unmistakable.

Surprisingly, considering his voice is so strong, the singing didn't come first. "When I started performing I only played guitar. I never really sang. I was in a band with a couple of mates but it wasn't till I started writing my own stuff that I started." He seems to be constantly looking for how to improve. "I like listening to really good singers, hearing the different techniques and all that. David Byrne from Talking Heads isn't the best technically, but he's got great range and a really original way of delivering a song. I'm just interested in that."

He and his band are students in Ballyfermot Rock College and the polish of rehearsals shows. They're a tight unit and very good but they all graduate in May so how will Breen find things on his own? "I like doing both. On your own, you have a lot more freedom to ad-lib but it's a thrill to hear a song come to life when it's played by the band."

His songs leap across a span of styles, think Tom Waits, Beck with a subversive streak of Kinky Friedman. There is room for development. Lyrically, he's forming his mark. A quirky turn of phrase and original thinking ensure that. The melodies are catchy and broad ranging, some funky, some folky. They stop short of conveying personality and twists to equal the words but there is time. I keep having to remind myself that he's only nineteen.

He's a pretty prolific songwriter, "There's an urgency to it because I always want to write something else. I study it. I think if you put the effort in you can see it in the song. I'll normally have about two songs on the go at any one time. It's just something I love doing.

"I keep a notebook that I jot ideas down in; I'm reading something interesting or whatever. It gives you options. At least all your songs aren't about relationships and stuff like that. I do have songs about those things but you don't want to push it."

Humour is a definite factor. Songs like 'Happyhappyhappyhappy' and 'Ed the Snail' are a feature but he is wary of using too many of them. "You need to be careful in case you find yourself being labeled as a novelty act. You know, 'Let's go and see that fella for the laugh.' I just try and write in as many different styles and through as many different emotions as possible."

His EP is surprising. Personal, understated and cohesive, it gives you no idea of the live performer. In fact it could almost belong to another artist altogether. That versatility will make or break Ross Breen. He could spread himself too thinly, but if he takes that chance he may well produce enough really good material to etch out a musical mark that is entirely his.

Ross Breen plays in Eamon Doran's on April 14th (2004) - Iris Magazine


"Whelan's July 13th"

Personally, I never heard of Ross Breen. I didn't know what kind of tunes he played, or if he was worth getting my fat ass of the couch for the tiresome bus journey in to see him. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.

From my almost non-existent research of this lad, I knew he was a singer- songwriter. That is all. I was thinking of some guy banging out 13 or 14 repetitive songs, ending in me leaving somewhat content. I couldn't have been further from the truth.

As I was sitting waiting for Ross Breen to come on, I must give a mention to the outstanding accordion talents of Mick Flynn who played support. As he left the stage, I was hoping to see him again later, hinted by the accordion left plugged in on stage!

The opening song was possibly one of the best I have heard at any gig in recent years. "Ding Dong Daddy", a 1920's Jazz song from Dumas that encapsulated the crowd almost immediately, and with that, the banter turned to silence in a matter of seconds.

The next three tracks followed in the quirky footsteps of the first, each beautifully portraying humorous stories through a mix of tempos and accents! "Never Start a Fight with a Man Wearing a Hat" had crocodiles and sharks, and "Ed the Snail" had snails, nuclear activity and sweet revenge! Although these subjects wouldn't be the conventional content of most songs, it worked exceptionally well.

The next three tracks had a more serious sound attached to them, but with the crowd still buzzing after the first four songs, they were all ears. "Elephants Foot", which was played for the first time live at this gig, received a great response, although Ross did explain how much effort went into it and that the crowd better appreciate it! Maybe they were claps of fear!

As the band came on for the second half of the gig (minus the drummer Colin Curran), they opened with "Let's Do It All Again", a very influential song with Ross's vocals beautifully accentuated by the addition of Caoimhe Hogarty, a powerful female singer. The tempo of the gig was soon picked up with "Every Child", which opened (at this stage I wasn't surprised!) with scatting! No sooner had the tempo increased; it was decreased during the same song. Two more quiet tracks (one sang in Irish) brought forth the last five tracks of the gig, which as expected, brought with it the quirky, jumpy sound that the gig opened with. There was clapping of hands, stamping of feet, and a valiant effort by the crowd to join in with any choruses they managed to catch a few words from. The first three of these five tracks are on Ross Breen's "3 Songs" EP and his fan base became obvious as a large number of people at the gig knew every word! I also got that Mick Flynn comeback I mentioned earlier, and he really shined during "Happy Happy Happy (Happy Happy)"

The gig ended with a solo effort again, with Ross playing "Demonkind". I have not seen nor heard a guitar strummed like this in a long time. How the strings survived I shall never know.

I have been at a lot of monotonous gigs in my time, but I have to say Ross Breen blew me away. Colman Clinch on keyboards and Ciaran Oman on bass did no wrong, and the band as a whole were very tight. The sound on the night was perfect, and I personally couldn't have found a better way to spend a Wednesday night.

Personally, I don't like comparing artists to other artists, but I know that some people need this to choose what gigs they might like to go and see. So, if you want my opinion, Divine Comedy, Bob Dylan with a hint of Neil Young guitar, overtones of Christy Moore, and if you know "Rocky Racoon" by The Beatles, combine the four of these, add another sixty percent originality and you might be getting close. Just go and see him, you won't be disappointed. - Road House Magazine


"Juliet Turner/Ross Breen"

Juliet Turner was the only reason I went down to Carrick-on-Shannon and stepped aboard the Moon River pleasure cruiser back in August.

However, when this instalment of the River Sessions was over, Juliet Turner was not the only memorable performer.

Young Dubliner Ross Breen was nothing short of a revelation. Despite being a supremely talented guitarist, it was actually his voice which left the lasting impression, a cross between the soaring wildness of Jeff or Tim Buckley and the world-weary bassiness of Tom Waits. He is definitely a name to watch for the future.
In contrast to the surprising Breen, you know what you're getting when Juliet Turner plays.

That sublime voice tinted with her Tyrone brogue was to the fore as she performed songs off her more recent album "Season Of The Hurricane" released in the first half of the year.

Juliet firmly believes in communicating with her audience and the intimate setting of the Moon River pleasure cruiser made for homely atmosphere.

Explaining the inspiration for each of her songs, she also got in some banter with the audience and was never less than charming throughout. She even managed to get the audience singing along. - Sligo Weekender


"demo review"

Ross Breen delivers a quirky take on the singer songwriter idiom with his EP Sexy Jigsaws and Hit Messages. If you can imagine the Divine Comedy with a lighter voice, you come close to defining what Breen is about, especially on 'Sexy Song', which could be a real winner. For 'Messages' he goes genre-hopping for a song that is from a different side of the tracks, suggesting Tom Waits on a slow drunken ballad with deft piano backing and a terrific atmosphere. 'Jigsaw' has excellent lyrics and a passionate, rugged guitar-and-vocal delivery that indicates he's learned a lot from the honesty of performers like Damien Dempsey. - Hot Press


Discography

3 Songs ep - 'Jigsaw', 'I Fish On My Side...', 'Happy Happy Happy (Happy Happy)'

'Ailleacht' appeared on the compilation album Ceol 06 (released by RMG)

The songs mentioned above are available to listen to at www.myspace.com/rossbreenmusic

Additional tracks available to listen to/download at www.cpu.ie and www.gigireland.com:
'Real Life', 'Every Child', 'The World Is Upside Down', 'Messages'

www.ontheverge.ie also regularly has mp3's of Ross Breen's material available for download

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Ross Breen’s songs have become known to feature a mixed bag of tricks such as shifting rhythms, tempo changes, big choruses, unusual chord progressions, original subject matters and strong melodies. Some of this work can be heard at www.rossbreen.com. The website features news, reviews and music from his EP ‘3 Songs’ which was produced by Bell X1’s Dave Geraghty.

Ross' song Áilleacht is featured on Ceol ‘06, a compilation album of Irish language songs released in March 2006. The album was released in aid of Concern for Seachtain Na Gailge and includes such notable music dignitaries as The Frames, The Waterboys and The Corrs among others. Previously, he had ‘Sexy Song’ featured on ‘Urban Tales’, an album released in May 2004 to promote all the talent that has passed through Ballyfermot Rock School over the years. He graduated in 2004 and is the only act to have headlined their Whelan’s showcase two years running in the course’s twenty-year history.

The troubadour in the smart suit and trilby hat has been busily building a fan base over the past few years, playing high profile support slots in places like Vicar St. with artists such as Bell X1, Damien Dempsey, Sinead O’ Connor, Mary Coughlan, Mundy, Declan O’ Rourke, Glen Hansard, Juliet Turner, Freddie White, Mic Christopher, Q, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aslan and Gordon Giltrap on his travels as well as packing out his own gigs in venues around the country.

“Just go and see him, you won’t be disappointed.” – Roadhouse Magazine

“ The Full Irish show is fully behind this artist, you have to check this act out”
Ryan Tubridy, 2FM

" Nothing short of a revelation. Despite being a supremely talented guitarist, it was actually his voice that left the lasting impression, a cross between the soaring wildness of Jeff or Tim Buckley and the world-weary bassiness of Tom Waits. He is definitely a name to watch for the future." – Sligo Weekender

“ Excellent lyrics and a passionate, rugged vocal and guitar delivery” – Hot Press

“ Definitely an artist with his tongue firmly in his cheek, he’s obviously moving upwards on the singer-songwriter scene” – Ray Darcy, Today FM

“ His songs leap across a span of styles… think Tom Waits and Beck with a subversive streak of Kinky Friedman… the melodies are catchy and broad ranging, some funky, some folky.”
- Iris Magazine

Contact Niall Hughes: (ph.) 0863102501 (e-mail): suents@tcd.ie