- 30 Jun 23
South Armagh singer reels in the years.
South Armagh native Ben Reel is back with his 11th studio album, Come a Long Way. Reel’s vocals on the opening ‘Don’t Fight It’ recalls Johnny Cash in his final years. Current single ‘Hardwired Blues’ has a story-telling, Steve Earle-ish flow to it, as Reel sings , “I’m still stuck in the groove”.
‘From The Day I Was Born’, feels like a genteel version of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ as Reel name checks Vietnam, Bloody Sunday, The Berlin Wall coming down and the Iraq War through the lens of his own life.
The overriding style is definitively Gospel-inspired with the likes of ‘Let the Road Rise’ and ‘The Finish Line’. There’s also some great musicianship in evidence, including backing vocals from Ben Reel’s partner Julieanne Black Reel. The overly straightforward Country nature of the songs is counterbalanced by Reel’s honest lyrics. Case in point:
‘Loretto on My Mind’ – a song he recorded and sent on his phone to his loved ones – was written about the death of a family member and a funeral he couldn’t attend due to his touring commitments.
Admirably, Ben’s self-penned songs are sung very much with his heart on his sleeve. There’s a lot of personal reflection here. He’s at the Spirit Store, Dundalk on Sat 8th June and the Wild Duck, Dublin on Sun 18th June.
Listen: ‘Hardwired Blues’
Out now via intelsyndicate music.
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