County Times - Thursday, March 15th 2001
Dublin Duo - The O'Brien Brothers finally make 'a go of it'
Gerard and Donal O'Brien hustled over to a quiet spot for a quick
interview after their first set at Tom Giblin's Pub in Carlsbad last
The brothers, originally from Dublin, Ireland, are used to it ---- they
have done nothing but hustle over the past year, playing anywhere they can
their second CD, "Morning Sun."
Their gig at Tom Giblin's is a consistent one, every Thursday from 8 p.m. to
midnight, they play an array of covers but mostly get requests for tunes
"Morning Sun" and "Living," the latter about to go gold "by Irish
standards," said Gerard. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays the duo play
regular gigs at
Hooley's Irish Pub & Grill in San Diego, Hennessey's Tavern in Pacific Beach
and Muldoon's in Newport Beach respectively.
It doesn't stop there because St. Patrick's Day figures to be a busy one
for the boys. They are the opening act at the San Diego St. Patrick's Day
from 1-2 p.m. Sunday, then head to Hooley's for Hooley Fest and a
performance from 4:15-5 p.m., and finally end the day's shows in Los Angeles
at a private
party at 9 p.m.
But the duo weren't always in such a rush.
After flying to New York from Dublin a few years ago with green cards in
hand, they decided they would give San Diego a look. Upon their arrival ----
while searching for work ---- they came across an Irish pub in Pacific
Beach. "We went in there looking for any kind of job, and there was a band
onstage performing," said the dark-haired Gerard, a 35-year-old resident of
Scripps Ranch. "The manager asked if we could play, so we got up there and
three songs, and they booked us for the next week."
They played a consistent gig at Fibber McGee's for the next four years,
working around full-time jobs. At one point, Donal went back home to Dublin
reconsider his move and career choices. While home, he admits he had some
reservations about pursuing music, but he also had the chance to write some
the songs that ended up on their current CD.
Upon his return, he and his brother decided to give their musical future
"a go of it."
"This CD is the one we are going to package and start doing the ground
work," said Gerard, "the married brother" and father of three. "You see,
only now have
we decided to do all of this. We have been working at this full time since
January of 2000."
"All of this" includes a full-scale CD release party they held recently
at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach ---- a party that Donal said sold out
weeks in advance. They have also been selected to sing the national anthem
at one of the San Diego Chargers games next fall and recently got wind of
rumored interest from the people at Sony, but they aren't holding out hopes
of signing a record deal any time soon.
Their commitment to their music is perfectly timed with the popularity of
Irish pubs and Irish music, but the duo say they don't want to get lumped in
with other Irish bar bands. They say they have their own sound, which is the
main reason they are beginning to gather a large fan base.
"We come from a typical Irish family that was always singing at
get-togethers and so forth," said Donal, a 29-year-old resident of Rancho
Bernardo. "We didn't
come over with the intention of playing music. But we found that people
liked our sound, our harmony, and we have our own songs, which makes us a
The O'Brien Brothers said their sound has been compared to that of
emerging British pop star David Gray and the legendary folk duo Simon and
Donal says they take pride in "saying something in our songs that are
important to us."
"Our sound just evolved for us, we like to say we are an original band
with an Irish flavor," said Gerard. "We didn't set out to sound like anyone
I don't think we really do."
"Morning Sun" and "Living" are sold exclusively at their performances and
The O'Brien Brothers Web site, www.obrienbrothers.com.