Ben Reel will release Live @JJ Smyths Dublin. A concert that was recorded in 2013 in the legendary, iconic but sadly now closed Dublin Jazz & Blues venue. Ben mixed the album during Covid lockdown when he had plenty of time on his hands. This album might have never seen the light of day during normal times with Ben’s usual busy touring schedule. The live album features mostly songs from that period, his 2013 album Darkness & The Light & some of his finest songs from the previous 5 albums. It also includes 2 great cover versions of Bob Dylans, The Times They are a Changin’ & The Beatles, A Hard Days Night. It will be released on CD and all digital platforms on the 1st November 2021.
This follows on the heels of ‘The Nashville Calling` the title of the 9th studio album which was released at the start of the pandemic on the 27th March 2020. Produced by Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack and featuring Garry W Tallent on bass from the legendary E Street Band. Recorded in Nashville the album was done and dusted in just 3 days with all live takes with a rootsy rock, live band feel. Work has also commenced on a 10th studio album.
Since his debut album `This Is the Movie’ back in 1999, Ben has reinvented himself from album to album, influenced by different styles of music over the years. As one critic said, " He's not afraid to throw in some in folk, soul, reggae vibes, which in turn call to mind John Hiatt at his best". Another describes him as “somewhere in the middle ground between rock and jazz or a sound that is sometimes reminiscent of Dylan and the Band”.
In a solo career which now spans over 20 years, Ben has received worldwide critical acclaim with numerous high profile TV/Radio appearances like BBC, RTE and Dutch NPO Radio. Supporting the likes of Jools Holland, & The Cranberries and he has collaborated musically with such names as Hal Ketchum & The Blockheads. He has co written and performed live with his fellow countryman Tony McLoughlin and some of Nashville's finest such as David Olney, Nanci Griffiths & Irene Kelley.
In the past Ben was selected to play an official showcase at Folk Alliance in Memphis TN and has toured as double bill with Tommy Womack (Nashville) in the U.S & UK and also with legendary American folk singer/songwriter Eric Andersen in the UK & NL. While in Nashville he was invited to play the famous Bluebird cafe on a number of occasions, most recently Sept 2018. Ben continued to stay in touch with his fans during Covid lockdown by playing 50 online streamed gigs on Facebook live every Friday night for one year.
Over the last 10 years Ben has enjoyed successful tours in Ireland, UK, Europe & U.S.A, receiving rave reviews and attracting a growing loyal fan base. He has graced big festivals such as Jamming@Hippie Jacks (USA), Musiktan festival in Bilbao, (ESP). Haarlem Jazz & Huntenpop (NL), Robin Hood folk festival (UK), Kilkenny rhythm & roots, Cork jazz & Electric Picnic (EIRE).
“No.1 in the Euro Americana chart for April 2020 - The Nashville Calling. Voted by respected DJ's & Journalist across Europe.”
“ 11 heavenly storming roots rocksongs sounds like the urgency of a hungry debutant who wants to win a war. And he sometimes can put the finger on the spirit of the age. Tough times... That's the Reel stuff. - 4/5 stars” - Herman Van Der Horst
— Lust for Life Magazine, Netherlands. The Nashville Calling review 2020
“These are songs about the resilience and the brave. They could be soundtracks and theme songs for the first responders in our current health pandemic. Reel has all the ingredients of the best roots rockers – swagger, attitude, heart and a way with words. And, his voice is so much better than most. Listen up.”
“Artists always want to believe their latest record is the best they’ve ever created, but The Nashville Calling just might be Ben Reel’s best”
“There’s not a single track that doesn’t immediately sink in tomake an emphatic initial impression. For those who are unfamiliar with his previous work, this is the place to begin. Dare we say it’s the “Reel Deal?”
“Tough People could be an anthem for these challenging times. The Nashville Calling is arguably Reel’s most inspired album to date, and a useful reminder that no artist of merit creates in a vacuum. ”
“The velvet voice of Ben Reel sounds superb in the eleven self-composed songs inspired by Americana and country rock rhythms that can be heard on "The Nashville Calling".”
“The playing on The Nashville Calling is peerless, as one would expect from such high-calibre musicians, while Reel's vocals have more than a hint of Roy Orbison about them, which, together with his incisive lyrics, make this an outstanding album of rootsy, soulful music” - Jeremy Searle
“Beautifully played by a bunch of stellar musicians, their live sound and energy is captured perfectly in this recording. 'The Nashville Calling' is certainly an apposite title for this little gem from Ben Reel, stuffed full of fine Americana rootsy rock it's a top addition to his impressive album portfolio.” - Paul Jackson
“He's not afraid to throw in some in folk, soul, reggae vibes, which in turn call to mind John Hiatt at his best”
— John Atkin, R2 Magazine
“Ben is a singer-songwriter from South Armagh with a mighty band behind him, the sound is sometimes reminiscent of Dylan and The Band”
— Dai Jeffries, Folking Magazine, Germany
Garry W Tallent & Ben Reel
Slice of the E Street Band
It was an honour to have a member of the E Street band playing on this record. Thanks Garry
LISTEN TO ALBUM ON SOUNDCLOUD
“What a joy to help Ben make this wonderful record - Ben has a lot of soul, a powerful voice and a batch of dead on songs. The rhythm section of Garry Tallent and Evan Hutchings combined with the guitar weaving of Tommy, Ben & myself made for inspired interaction. Great experience & an even better album.”
— Will Kimbrough, Nashville, TN
“Ben’s new album is a triumph. Blessed with a vision and his tremendous voice, he gets inside his words and music and makes magic. I’m super glad I got to help out on this project. He’s a singular talent and a wonderful person on top of that.”
— Tommy Womack, Nashville, TN