||The New Release: John Breen :
"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
The Celtic exodus to America led Irish settlers into the Appalachian Mtns. 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.
With lyrics by award-winning Charlotte Hannon, produced and engineered by Stevie Hawkins (Daryle Singletary, Jeff Carson), and backlit with multi-instrumental work by Tim Crouch (Alan Jackson, Rhonda Vincent), the acoustic guitar, fiddle and mandolin set the mood while the tin whistle and Celtic harp create a distinctly Irish atmosphere fused with American mountain roots music.
||Lyrics: Charlotte Hannon
Music: Tim Crouch & Stevie Hawkins
|Produced by: Stevie Hawkins
Engineered by: Stevie Hawkins & Tim Crouch
||John Breen: Vocal • Tim Crouch: Fiddle, Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Banjo, Dulcimer and Djembe
Pete Johnson: Pedal Steel Guitar • Cotton Rainey: Dobro and Resonator Guitar • Sara Burke: Celtic Harp
Eamonn Byrne: Irish Tin Whistle and Overton • Jerry Price: Acoustic Guitar and Hammered Dulcimer
Kyla Cassidy: Background Vocals • Stevie Hawkins: Vocal, Background Vocals and Percussion
Roscoe “Teeter” Tot and Jeb “Tater” Tot: Background Vocals on “No Stranger There”
Recorded at Holler Trax Studio ~ Strawberry, AR ~ Wintergreen Studio ~ Atlanta, GA
Mastered by ShhhMedia Audio ~ Atlanta, GA ~ shhhmedia.net
Cover photo by Lawrence Timmons ~ Arklow Ireland
Cover art & design by Stevie Hawkins
© 2015 Emphasis Records • Hannon-Hawkins Music, BMI • All rights are reserved.
The New Single by John Breen "I Still Believe"
"I Still Believe" is the first single from the anticipated forthcoming John Breen album "Origins". This new contemporary Celtic/Folk single is a perfect example of what John Breen does so well. Emotional pay-dirt. His powerful Irish voice carries us through a lyric that hints at life's struggles, yet the mood is uplifting in recognition of the power in believing. Excellent production, melodically brilliant, smooth vocals.
With lyric by award-winning Charlotte Hannon, produced and engineered by Stevie Hawkins (Daryle Singletary, Doug Stone), and backlit with multi-instrumental work by Tim Crouch (Alan Jackson, Rhonda Vincent), the violins and mandolin set the mood while the tin whistle and Celtic harp create a distinctly Irish atmosphere. The overall warm lush sounds carry us right along until we too find ourselves believing.
The Single Direct From Us! → $0.99
John Breen "John Breen" Debut Album
Alternative-Urban Records released John Breen's stellar debut album in 2004 to headline Alternative Urban's foray into the Celtic and World Music market. The John Breen album combines the best of traditional Irish music with unique contemporary interpretations.
The John Breen album is a concept album delivering a fresh perspective of songs with roots rich in tradition yet broadened by music schooled in dynamics and foundation, intelligently embracing the sounds of ancient Celtic times and interweaving it with the Ireland of today. This is an album of Celtic passion delivered in John Breen's compelling vocal styling that truly instills a desire to listen to it one more time.
With original songs included, proving John's capacity for writing as well as his singing, this debut album is truly a first in what we are certain will be many future albums throughout John Breen's steady flourishing career.
JOHN BREEN - Vocal/Acoustic Guitar
STEVIE "The Mad Hatter" HAWKINS - All other Instruments and Backing Vocals
Lyrics: Charlotte Hannon • John Breen - Traditional
Music: John Breen - Stevie Hawkins
Produced - Engineered & Mastered by: Stevie Hawkins
© 2004 Alternative-Urban Records/Atlanta Music Group • AUCD-1012 ℗ Hannon/Hawkins Music BMI • All rights are reserved.
John Breen "Old Men In Hats"
On this long awaited follow up to his 2004 debut album, John Breen's clear, expressive and emotional voice is captivating, making these tracks of eclectic self-penned tunes, original and traditional songs, an enjoyable listen and well worth the wait.
From rhythmic cuts that will get your toes tapping (Rosemary Bailey) to John's engaging vocal nuances on stellar ballads (Ringsend Rose, Old Man), and boosted by several pre-eminent Irish musicians to include: band member Mick Redmond (well crafted mandolin and banjo influences throughout), accordion and whistle accompaniments by Brian Doyle, driving bodhran beats from Peter Walker (check out Maggie), world champion Irish piper Larry Cullen, and the talented tin whistler Tommy Breen (of Boru and Fenian Folk) contributing a fine solo instrumental (The Bog Down In The Valley O'), this album delivers magical vocal and musical performances.
The title track "Old Men In Hats" (an incredible lyrical contribution from fellow Wicklow man Terry Kavanagh) truly puts you there, in that place that as the song says: "feels like heaven to me."
JOHN BREEN - Vocal/Acoustic guitar
MICK REDMOND - Mandolin/Banjo
BRIAN DOYLE - Accordian-Tin Whistle
PETER WALKER - Bodhran
LARRY CULLEN - Pipes
TOMMY BREEN - Tin Whistle/Bodhran/Bones
NOEL MOORE - Bass
FIDDLE - Courtesy of efiddler.com
MARY FLANNIGAN - Celtic Harp
DANIEL O'CONNOR - Dulcimer
STEVIE HAWKINS - Piano/Percussion/Snare & Bass Drums/Timpani/Jews Harp/Piper Ankle Bells/Porch Board
Background Vocals - Oisin Breen - Mick Redmond - Brian Doyle - Stevie Hawkins
Lyrics: Charlotte Hannon • John Breen • Terry Kavanagh • Pete St John • Phil Coulter • Gerry Cunningham • Paddy Houlahan • Traditional
Music: John Breen - Stevie Hawkins
Produced - Engineered - Arranged and Mastered by: Stevie Hawkins
Cover Art - Charlotte Hannon
Tracks were recorded in Co. Wicklow Ireland - Post tracking and production in Atlanta, Georgia USA
Official Release/Street Date - October 14, 2012
© 2011 Emphasis Records/Atlanta Music Group • EMCD-007 • ℗ 2011 Hannon/Hawkins Music BMI • All rights are reserved.