Ben Reel Band
This album has an earthy organic feel,with a rootsy rock west coast chilled out vibe.
This is the brand new album from the Ben Reel Band "NEW HORIZON" Official release date 25th june 2007. Ben Reel is a singular artist, the latest original to emerge from the wonderful Irish tradition of great singer-songwriters. From the troubadours of the heart and the message song, through Van Morrison and that shape-shifting Declan Patrick MacManus (Elvis Costello) and a bit of the Pogues, the Irish songsmiths crafted works both spiritual and emotionally charged while also tinged with the gift of turning a phrase with the best of them. Gerry Anderson, of BBC Radio Ulster called Reel’s last album, SWEET VICTORY, “the best album I’ve heard in years.” And live, Ben with long standing recruits Michael Black on drums, Ronnie O'Flynn on bass, Micky McCarney on guitar, Ben himself on vocals and guitar, the Ben Reel Band have been building a great reputation as being one of the finest live bands in Ireland.
Hailing from Silverbridge in County Armagh, against the backdrop of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, music became Ben’s way out. He first picked up the guitar when he was 13 years old and first musical adventure began when he formed the now legendary band Trim The Velvet.
After achieving significant success and a very loyal following, the band went their separate ways and Ben started recording and touring as a solo artist. To date he has completed 4 studio recordings, the latest of which NEW HORIZON, has just been completed and will be released in Ireland in April, 2007. Along with its predecessors it showcases Ben’s talent as a sublime singer-songwriter.
This time around though, Ben collected his band into the studio to hew simple, direct and heartfelt songs. While the Irish know that their Blarney can get them out of dire situations and make a bad situation so much lighter, they also know that the bitter truth needs to be acknowledged and dealt with straightaway. Ben’s songs on NEW HORIZON are those, bitter with the bad, but with a view to the way out.
The tracks have unfolded contain a more rootsy, earthy, Americana rock feel to them. The band has developed a kinship from performing throughout Europe, creating their unique sound together. Bringing real music back to the people in an age of the corporate manufactured mundane, NEW HORIZON announces to the world something, which a growing number of people have already known throughout Ireland; Ben Reel is a major talent.
hi-fi+ Magazine Review of New Horizon - 17th October 2007
Ben Reel Band ~ 'New Horizon' B.Reel Records: BRBCDA005
Ben Reel, a native of South Armagh, Ireland, is a superstar in waiting; rarely have I heard an album so complete and so fully realised. From the brilliance of the playing and arranging to the magnificence of Reel's voice - this is heaven all the way.
Actually it's his fourth album, so god knows where he's been hiding. With lyrics delving deeply into the spiritual, inspiration is heavily gleaned from classic books like Sogyal Rinpoche's 'The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying' and Deepak Chopra's 'Synchrodestiny'.
However, it's one thing being a great word smith but it counts for nothing in music if you can't weave it into a strong melodic force. Fortunately Reel proves to be a master of both on this really beautiful collection of rootsy, soulful rock.
'New Horizon' is 'all killer, no filler', and if Reel can manage to get more radio exposure then there's no reason why songs like 'Westcoast', with its instantly memorable chorus, and the message-laden ' All Souls Alive' can't light up the increasingly stale and predictable mainstream airwaves for years to come.
Actually, every song here stands up handsomely to repeated plays, but one - the lilting Irish ballad 'When The Summer's Gone', featuring the angelic humming of Julieanne Black - is definitely the most haunting song I've heard in years and has 'future classic' stamped all over it. Revelatory work.
reviewed by Andrew Hobbs hi-fi+
Music 9 I Recording 8
AllGigs.co.uk Review of New Horizon - 8th October 2007
When it comes to making classy albums, Ben Reel's your man. Year on year, Reel's songwriting is growing in stature in every department, yet he still doesn't get the wide spread recognition he richly deserves. No doubt, he is a truly major talent. New Horizon continues to show his strength in depth and versatility. There's a distinct air of confidence on this superb album which might carry it forward. In reality, Reel is Ireland's best kept secret, though lead -off single Waitin For U, if it's not still floating around the major playlists, may go some way in bringing him a bigger audience. Having endlessly listened to it on holiday, New Horizon, his fifth album, there's much to admire here. Song wise,( there's plenty for the musos and general audience ), it's one of the strongest albums this year. This CD isn't just music ;it's art.
Reel found his inspiration in books The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and Synchrodensity, with a view to getting the listener to nurture the spirit and inner-self as opposed to looking for fulfillment in material gain. Heavy stuff maybe, but beautifully packaged. This inevitably renders Reel a svery serious musician. Unquestionably, here's here to stay, but he might just need a ' hit' to keep him on the radar.Finding an actual niche is often difficult, though an 'Americana' tag is inevitable due to the Stateside influences, particularly the open track and Westcoast, but it doesn't end there as there's a blusey hint now and again, found on harmonica drenched and dirty rocking Hell In Ur Own Head ( shades of Dire Straits ) which has scintillating solo breaks, and wholesome country / R&B rocker All Souls Alive which draws on the raw edges of Springsteen.The Boss seems to have also influenced delightful ballad Lonely Ship too. In sharp contrast, track 5, Orbit, proves to be the most gorgeous of the lot with dreamlike backups by Julieanne Black. Vocally, Reel himself is also tested.
I defy you not to fall in love with this song.A slow steady beat carries For U & I, allowing Reel's cultured vocals to meander, and some deft harmonica give it a boost. Meet U Again has definite shades of old skool 70s Soul, carried by neat harmonies, backups, wah wah's and understated electric solos. Sound of The West resurface on the title track, which magnificently create the dusty soundscapes via brilliant harmonica, and the best vocal performance on the disc. A stripped down and simple ballad When The Summer's Gone effectively closes a real gem.
Collectively, Reel ( harmonica / acoustic guitar) Ronnie O'Flynn ( bass) Mickey McCartney and John McCullagh ( piano / keys ) Julieanne Black ( backups /percussion) prove to be quite a formidable outfit. Their rootsy, no frills approach and overall production only serve to enhance the musical delivery and final product.
Review by Elly Roberts
Review Date: 14/9/2007
Rating: ***** (5)
Release Date: 13/8/2007 Ben Reel Records
Artist: Ben Reel Band
Album: New Horizon
> The Birmingham Post Review of New Horizon - 13th October 2007
Ben Reel, a native of South Armagh, has in the words of one journalist “operated under the media’s radar for far too long”. On the evidence of this release, his fourth album, I would have to agree. The songs and the playing are really impressive, an earthy mix of rock, roots and blues, all mixed lovingly together with soulful vocals. His song writing shows maturity and progression which comes through with repeated plays. Featuring some great slide guitar from Micky McCarney and terrific vocals from Kelie Redmond, “Hell In Ur Own Head” is a standout, closely followed by the semi spoken “When Will Be Ever Be Free”. “For U And I” shows the band at their best with a lovely rock/soul groove that you wish would go on longer. All in all this is an impressive album from a major talent who needs further investigation.
reviewed by Chris Field Birmingham Post
LATEST REVIEWS OF SINGLE "WAITIN FOR U" TAKEN FROM NEW ALBUM "NEW HORIZON"
Waiting For U is lifted from forthcoming album New Horizon. Written by Reel, it's got enough class to make the playlists of BBC Radio 2 et al. This gorgeous song has also got enough appeal to make it in the States too, and that's where he most likely to make it first, as a household name.
This smooth and sophisticated slice of contemporary pop-jazz (shades of Steely Dan at their peak) is simply divine for the entire 4 minutes and 6 seconds. With its relaxed and loungy mood, it glides along beautifully with Reel's cultured vocals proving the icing on the cake.
On Raglan Road, a modern interpretation of a traditional song is a wonderful indigenous airing, complete with emotionally tinged harmonica and heartfelt lyrics.
Review by Elly Roberts The new single 'Waitin' For You' has been reviewed on the Get Ready to Rock! website, earning a very favourable four stars. Here is the review below:
The Ben Reel Band have been around for a while now, attracting a growing legion of fans in their native Ireland. Taken from their forthcoming 4th album New Horizon, Waitin' For You is a piece of quality soft melodic rock.
With distinct Van Morrison overtones in both structure and delivery it's a classy number that can only enhance the band's reputation and if New Horizon is this good, I'll be in the queue to buy it. ****
Review by Pete Whalley