Ross Brassil: Songs In The Key Of Life

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Ross BrassillHaving played in numerous bands that have rocked the pubs and clubs of Tralee down the years, Ross Brassil is a well known musician in town.

Here is a selection of the songs that have shaped him…

Pearl Jam – Alive

I was fortunate enough to have two older sisters (with good taste in music) who dictated a lot of what I listened to as a kid, most of which I still listen to today. In 1993, aged nine and a bit, they brought me to Slane to see Neil Young and a small band called Pearl Jam who were touring their debut album ‘Ten’.

I learned the album from start to finish before going to the gig and to this day it’s one I go back to regularly. There is not a bad song on the album but if I had to pick one it would have to be ‘Alive’, if it ever comes on in a bar or party late at night I have been known to whip out the air guitar to it.

Metallica – Orion

My sisters also introduced me to Metallica around the same time. I first saw them at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert just after he died. I had liked and still like a lot of hair metal (Def Leppard, Skid Row etc), but when I saw James Hetfield with his white explorer guitar and bad ass handle bar mustache and a slightly ginger/blonde mullet I knew this was the band for me.

It took me a few years to catch up to him in the facial hair department but I’m doing well for myself in that regard now. But I love Metallica and all things Metallica, no matter how uncool it is to like them now. I have seen the six times and would go again in a heartbeat. Their instrumental song ‘Orion’ from their 1986 masterpiece ‘Master of Puppets’ is, in my opinion, the greatest piece of music ever.

Thin Lizzy – Gotta Give It Up

It’s hard to pick one Lizzy song as they were such a great band in my opinion and Phil Lynott wrote some amazing songs, but this one in particular stands out for me as it was such a personal one for him.

I have played this song for many years with bands I have been involved with and had the pleasure of performing it for Phil’s mother Philomena Lynott last year when we were asked to put on a Thin Lizzy tribute concert to raise money for a museum dedicated to Phil’s life and works.

She made a point of thanking us for playing that particular song which meant a lot to me. A tragically beautiful song by one of Ireland’s greatest ever artists.

Trentemoller – Take Me Into Your Skin

In recent times I have found myself listening to a lot of electronic music for one reason or another and I find it exciting in that there are so many possibilities with what one can do with it. There are so many producers out there thinking outside the box where as with a genre like metal you eventually become limited in what you can create before it starts to become boring.

Daft Punk and the Prodigy are up their with my favorite acts but Trentemoller really stands out to me.

Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel

A famous episode of Fr Ted once highlighted the eternal argument of ‘Blur or Oasis?’ I have found over the years that ‘Dylan or Cohen?’ is a debate I have gotten into on many occasions (usually in the wee hours of the morning) and I am 100% a Cohen man.

The lyrics in this song are in my opinion the best ever written, the second verse in particular. Some say he is depressing and boring but listen to what the man is saying and you will see it’s pretty uplifting. This song is very special to me and I get a kick out of playing it even if no one ever knows it. An amazing song by a true poet.

Christy Moore – Johnny Jump Up

What self respecting musician doesn’t  like a song about having a pint? We can all relate to the chorus of ‘Oh never oh never oh never again’.

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