Ross Breen
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Ross Breen

Celbridge, Leinster, Ireland | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Celbridge, Leinster, Ireland | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Alternative Rock




"Accomplished debut from Kildare Wizard"

On the title track of this adventurous album, Kildare-man Ross
Breen serves us a sumptuous and unpredictable stew of Mumfords,
The Band, Dylan, Talking Heads, Elbow and gospel. And you know
what? It works.

The stompfest ‘Life Support’ adds another flavour to what is a heady
brew, with a dash of Ferry in its majestic chorale and bluesy harp.
Mexican horns eblazon a Sparks-like ‘Elephants Foot’, Breen is
embroiled in echo and squalling guitars for the madcap ‘Thin Sheep’,
and the blues based ‘Jigsaw’ nods towards Ferry again, as its jagged
rhythms take it to the thirteenth bar. Breen has captivating vocal
style, and is clearly at home in his eccentric songs which he bookends
with clever, short interludes.

Ably urged on by The Kanootzens and his various sidekicks, apart
from some lyrical untidiness, he’s turned in one of the most assured
albums to invade my space in a long time.

Jackie Hayden - Hot Press

"The Irish music scene's best kept secret?"

The Irish music scene’s best kept secret? It has certainly seemed that way with Leixlip native Ross Breen at times. The singer-songwriter and retro suit enthusiast has toiled thanklessly on the unsigned circuit for almost a decade now. A gifted songsmith and raucous live performer, he often seemed as though he was perhaps in danger of falling between two stools, being too clever to be overly commercial and too populist and accessible to garner underground hype. However this debut album, recorded last year with backing band The Kanootzens and a slew of assorted guest musicians and launched in Crawdaddy this past Friday, may go some way towards earning Breen some long-awaited recognition.

As an opening salvo, the title track is a hard one to beat, as Breen tackles Robert Johnson’s crossroads legend in the form of a powerful folk stomp replete with soaring gospel harmonies, though carefully orchestrated to ensure they walk the line between epic and overblown expertly.

Each track from thereon is preceded by a series of short, mostly a Capella interludes, which serve to preserve the continuity of the album nicely. The songs proper surprise at every turn; Life Support brings to mind a Celtic version of Talking Heads circa Stop Making Sense, while Elephants Foot repeats the track with added mariachi horns. Elsewhere, Jigsaw marries singer-songwriter classicism to Tito Puente Latin jazz rhythms, while the feedback drenched post punk shapes of Thin Sheep sees Breen in altogether more unhinged mode.

There are more reflective moments too. Monet’s pastoral, colourful folk chimes fittingly with the works of the impressionist who enjoys its eponymous dedication, while War And Peace is a sombre reflection on self-worth. The album closes on piano-led blues ballad Keep The Light On, delivering both the album’s best vocal and best lyric, as Breen implores that “You know you should never close the door on those who care for you” in a considered meditation on fragility and vulnerability.

It’s a positivity that permeates much of an album which Breen must be relieved as much as anything to have finally made. In the sleevenotes he thanks friends and family for ‘never encouraging me to get a real job’, and that is something we all perhaps owe a debt of gratitude for. Albums as fresh, inventive and daring as When I Met The Devil would never be made if talents like Breen retreated to the world of clock-punching when instant success doesn’t follow their early endeavours. The Irish music scene’s best kept secret? Maybe it’s time more people were told.

Drop-d Rating 9/10


When I Met The Devil (2011)

Nobody's Perfect (limited edition 7" vinyl with exclusive B-side) (2014)

Idyllic Valley (single - digital release only) (2015)

One Last Kiss (single - digital release only) (2016)



Ross Breen released his self-produced debut album, When I Met The Devil, in 2011. More recently he has released three singles in anticipation of his second album, New Born Vibrancy.  In 2015, To song, Idyllic Valley, reached number one in the iTunes Ireland rock charts following an acclaimed live performance on RTE1’s the Saturday Night Show.

“… fresh, inventive and daring… The Irish music scene’s best kept secret? Maybe it’s time more people were  told.” – 9/10

In 2012, Ross was awarded the title of Ireland’s Best Unsigned Singer-Songwriter by Newstalk FM’s the Tom Dunne Show after his song Monet was chosen as the strongest entry from over a thousand submissions. Shortly thereafter, his song Life Support was chosen as the title track on a compilation album released nationally by Delphi Records in aid of Pieta House.

His second album, New Born Vibrancy, is due for release in 2016. In addition to his recording achievements, the Kildare-born songwriter has consistently impressed on the live stage, earning countless invitations as a special guest with the likes of Midlake, Bell X1, Sinead O’ Connor, Declan O’ Rourke, Damien Dempsey and Oscar-winner Glen Hansard. As well as completing a successful east-coast tour of the U.S. in late 2011, Ross Breen has built up a large following performing with his band at a number of Ireland’s premier festivals, including Electric Picnic, Body And Soul, Indiependence and Hard Working Class Heroes.

Band Members