Luck of the Irish
“O’Brien Brothers create buzz in local music scene”
O’Briens bring Irish roots to local music scene
By Pat Kumpan
You could call two local singer/songwriters the Young Dubliners, but since
that name has been claimed by another musical group, they would prefer to stick
to there own names – the O’Brien Brothers – for now, at least.
“We might change it, if we get famous, but we’ve no idea what we’d call ourselves,” said Donal O’Brien, a Bernardo Heights resident.
Donal and Gerard O’Brien, originally from Dublin, sense one thing: they’re quickly climbing the ladder to success, making a respectable “go of it” with American audiences. Their second, newly released CD called “Morning Sun” is available through their Website: www.obrienbrothers.com.
The two will be appearing 9 p.m. Saturday, February 3 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach to celebrate their new CD and introduce more San Diegans to their music. Guest musician Terry Casey with the Fenians and a full band provide backup.
Tickets are $15 in advance by calling the Belly Up at (858) 481-8140. A portion of the proceeds help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Irishmen will also kick up their heels with some Irish favorites during “An Irish Concert” 7 p.m. Sunday, March 11, which includes a St. Patrick’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage, at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts on Espola Road in Poway. Tickets are $22 each for the concert and meal. Call the center, (858) 748-0505 for ticket information.
The duo is also proud they’ve been selected to sing the national anthem during a San Diego Charger game, once football resumes in the fall.
With the luck of the Irish and more than an honest dose of talent, the O’Brien Brother’s hope to see more than Irish eyes smiling, as they hope their brand of music attracts audiences nationwide.
Gerard and Donal grew up in a musical family that loved a variety of music. But the brothers fell in love with the Rolling Stones and similar bands, but also have a soft spot for Bob Dylan and his word crafting skills.
“You could say our music has got an edge – a style that’s all our own,” said Gerard, a Scripps Ranch resident who describes O’Brien tunes as being a blend of soft rock and folk.
“It has to come from here (heart),” said Donal. “We might have to chisel it, work it through, but we have to like it.”
Masterpieces don’t happen over night said the brothers.
Gerard is the dark-haired older brother, described by Donal as being “determined, very focused with a head for business,” while red-haired Donal is younger and more apt to be the lyricist in search of the “right” words, a poet who blends heart and soul.
The pair might be different in looks and personality, but there’s no significant sibling rivalry to sever their mutual goal: make great music that fits their mould, or stretches beyond boundaries to be creative, artistic and emotional.
“When Paddy Maloney with the Chieftains told us he liked our music, we thought that was quite a compliment coming from the ‘King,’ “said Gerard.
First-time listeners are likely to be impressed by the O’Brien’s rich lyrics that tell a story such as “Disco in San Francisco,” which is about “letting your hair down and not taking life too seriously,” said Donal.
Adding a Latin beat to “Disco in San Francisco” isn’t what listeners might expect from two Irish lads, but, said Gerard, “Our second CD reflects more of who we are.”
“Morning Sun” includes two familiar Irish songs, “Black is the Coulour” and Rocky Road to Dublin,” but all the other material is original, including “She Cries,” about a war torn country.
Think of the O’Brien Brothers as an original band with an Irish flavor.
The Irishmen say the secret to being successful in their chosen field, as well as life in general, has to do with being honest with themselves and not making compromises.
They’ve worked as pipe fitters and quality control workers for Guinness Draught in Connecticut (yes, part of the job was tasting the brew) and several sorts of odd jobs, but a niche in the music world was always something they only dreamed of – until now.
Their first CD, “Living”, is “practically gold in Ireland” said Gerard. “Over there everyone knows us.”
“We went with traditional Irish songs. We recorded it (“Living”) to prove we could sing,” said Donal.