"ORIGINS" :: Album Reviews
Excitement was in the air when I heard that Irish crooner
John Breen was putting up a new album called Origins, last
year. I know his music. There is consistency that marks his
previous albums. There is certainty in his vision resulting
in an album that’s solid and artfully crafted. There is no
fumbling around with other styles. Instead, he goes for the
things he know by heart, and good at. If you pick up any John
Breen album, you always feel that sense of coming home, not
just in a geographical but in a spiritual sense as well.
Maturity marks his new album. I admire his humility, in a sense
that he is aware of being a vessel to something bigger himself.
I Still Believe is his current single. It is a stirring ballad
with a beautiful mandolin solo in a mesh of other instruments.
“There will be moments of fall from grace…” His ability to
capture the essence of life in a line or two, is powerful.
Great musicians backed this recording. It’s a cornucopia of
instrumental richness supporting his beautiful voice.
I think what makes him stand out from other singer/songwriters
of his time is the truth in his songs. He really lives what he
sings about. He now works with people who are undergoing
challenging behaviors and I think that has deepened his
sense of humility and sympathy to the human condition. And we
all need that in this time of apathy. When people spend more
time with their mobile phones, computers or tweets, it’s
refreshing to just curl up in your bed and listen to songs that
remind you of what it’s like when you’re a child and
everything’s safe and beautiful.
Origins is a good vocal album. The jolly Amber Tresses opens
then album in which he shines in his mastery of traditional
styles. Meant to Be slows us down a bit with its introspective
mood and beautiful tin whistle solo. Cup of Sorrow is another
lively track which gives way to the gentle and flowing I Still
Believe which I mentioned earlier. I’ll Be No Stranger is
another salvo of Bluegrass fireworks with amazing duet between
Breen and Stevie Hawkins. Instrumentalist Tim Crouch showcases
his virtuosity in most of the tracks in Origins. I admire the
angelic voice of Kyla Cassidy as she provides backing vocals in
various tracks,while the rest of musicians are all remarkable
in their artistry in the finest degree.
Angel In The Air is a lullaby that reminds me of what mothers
sang to their children in the old days to send them to sleep. I
Loved You Better Than You Know is a love song with another
sweep of instrumental beauty. A lament I’LL Remember You Love
In My Prayers mirrors the gentleness of Meant To Be and I Still
Believe. Briscoe’s Darlin’ in an instrumental that bumps the
pace a bit in a traditional style. The thread extends to
What I Said Ain’t What You Thought I Mean which is humorous!
Been proves that he can be funny. I Only Wish You Well
closes the album. A very fitting track which summarizes the
overall atmosphere of Origins. There is wisdom that comes in
every journey. I think after creating three albums, the artist
has an overall idea what his purpose is.
I think we are fortunate to have an artist like John
Breen in this lifetime. The honesty of his songs cuts to the
core of our souls. I feel purified after the last track.
Origins is a must-have album for humanity.
- Baxter Labatos - The Celtic Music Fan
I have been lucky enough to have known and listened to the
sensational work presented by John Breen for several years now.
With true Irish tradition in sound, John has brought to me many
hours of enjoyment while listening to his tracks.
When first hearing that his 3rd Album would be Country, I was
surprised and wondered why he would choose this genre.
The answer was soon clear and without hesitation I applaud and
commend John and all involved.
Having listened to his latest Album written by Charlotte
Hannon, Stevie Hawkins & Tim Crouch, I now fully understand and
found myself being taken back in time.
Superb in conception, in all ways, how clever it was to produce
"Origins" aptly named for the journey it takes us on. I could
not single out one track on this Album, as all in their own
right entertained with fabulous lyrics and the magnificent
traditional pure Irish vocals of John Breen I found so
appealing and convincing in Nature with what "Origins" Album
hopes to achieve, present and represent in the History of
Not only are we entertained so brilliantly, along the way we
are also taken on a trip back in time, which I found so
rewarding and bringing to me knowledge regarding Blue Grass
Music, traditional Country Music, Southern Gospel and
Contemporary Country Folk which we are all familiar with.
From Wicklow Mountains to the Appalachians and back home to
original roots, this trip back in time brought imaginary
dreams, a history lesson and melodic pleasure from this amazing
produced and mixed Album.
Congratulations to you all. Magnificent in every aspect from
Vocals to Music Composition, Lyrics & Production. The perfect
trip back in time.
- Demelia Denton - Radio Universal, UK
You have some good material here, the songs have
strong content. The vocal and music is very well presented
and the production is the work of a seasoned producer.
- Dr. Gerald Murray • Gerald Murray Music • Manager
Doug Stone / Ashton Shepherd
"Origins" :: The New Album by John Breen
The Celtic exodus to America led Irish settlers into the Appalachian Mountains, their music enveloped into an ever evolving kind of music.
On his new 11 song album, John Breen's vocal mastery shines as he explores a melodic path combining Celtic music with Bluegrass music, Old-Time Country music, Southern Gospel music, Contemporary Country, and Folk. The album is solid, artfully crafted, and traverses the journey of the origins of Celtic music and its evolution in America by the Irish settlers in the Appalachian Mountains. Singing his way from the Wicklow Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, and bringing it all back home again, John Breen puts his heart and soul into every song on this album.
The album is produced, mixed, and engineered by music industry veteran Stevie Hawkins. His country music credits include national and international recording artists, Daryle Singletary, Jeff Carson, Doug Stone, Jim Ed Brown, Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker, among others.
The album includes also the talents of Tim Crouch, whose credits include, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Vince Gill, performing fiddle on country music star Alan Jackson's 2013 "The Bluegrass Album", and bluegrass music star Rhonda Vincent's Grammy nominated and #1 Billboard 2014 album "Only Me", among many others. Known as one the finest fiddler players in the United States, Tim's skills as a multi-instrumentalist are legendary. Tim is also co-engineer of "Origins".
Emphasis EMCD-010 •
Street Date February 23, 2015
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