by Larry Lehna
Darrin Breil may be a new name to some people, but he has been a fixture in the Detroit music scene for years. Darrin is an amazing talent. His guitar playing alone would qualify him to play with most any group. Darrin’s attitude harkens back to the musicians of the 1960’s. He has a genuine reverence for music, and presents himself as a very humble vessel of some greater force which guides his music. In a direct quote he says, “Why would god have given me such an amazing talent and so many beautiful songs if he didn't want me to sing them?... when I sing I sing for all that is and all that is to be.. I sing for the betterment of our world, may it be filled with the songs of love and sounds of hope ... I sing for you and for your family and for all of our souls... may there be space in your heart for song, for song is the language we all speak... and for those who work so very hard to bring these songs to you I thank you, for the journey is a very hard one, yet too a blessing to be a part of ....bless you all my brothers and sister, bless you in your journey to help share love and song here upon this Earth... love you all.” That could have easily come from one of the 60’s “peace and love” groups. He insists that the music is not his, it belongs to the world. That, too, has the ring of an earlier time.
Darrin is as articulate in his speech as he is precise in his guitar picking. When he speaks it is almost poetic, just as it is with his music. You would think that he had a formal education, yet he admits that after high school he concentrated on music. That is not to say that he became one-faceted. Breil has always loved to read and credits his reading with his mastery of words and syntax. This is also evident in his songs. He writes all of his own stuff and could easily be described as a modern day Bob Dylan. He even uses the harmonica holder around his neck that was an early trademark of Dylan.
It has not been an easy road, but Breil is quick to point to his struggles as a key factor in helping him create music. If nothing else a little hardship only serves to build character. Much of the time it has been a lonely journey and he says he is perfectly happy when performing solo. He likes the fact that he can alter the music to suit his mood when he doesn’t have anyone else playing with him. One of the several genres that he enjoys is traditional folk music. There is nothing he enjoys more than playing in front of a live audience; however, recently he has been spending more time in the studio. He describes the mixing of tracks as fascinating and he becomes so excited about the different sounds that you wish you were there with him. He says often it is removing a sound that makes a song come together and admits that he can add too many tracks on occasion. That is when he has to rely on the advice of others.
If asked to describe Breil in one word you might choose “passionate.” When he cares about something he throws himself into the project. This is especially true with charitable organizations. He rarely turns down a worthy cause, with worthy being the key word. When he satisfies himself that the bulk of the donations are going to the needy he is more than happy to help. The list is too large to name them all, but he did single out a few he was proud of serving: Hope for Haiti, Cancer Survivors, the Berkley School District and Peace Education Center. He feels that it is one way to say thank you for the gift of his talent.
When asked if there was anything he wanted to add he said that he wanted to say thank you to all of Detroit and that he was proud to be a musician here - one of the greatest music cities in the world.
He is, of course, quite correct.