Ben Reel bears his influences on his album sleeve, acknowledging on the cover of The Nashville Calling that he’s a fan of Bruce Springsteen and becoming understandably gleeful that this, his 9th album, was recorded in Nashville with bass guitar duties taken by Garry W Tallant of the E Street Band. So it’s hardly surprising that the ghost of Bruce flits in and out of the 11 original tracks, as if he’s keeping a fatherly eye out. He’s there in the arrangements, some melodies and the style, although Reel’s voice never reaches the bombast of his working-class hero. So fans of both Bruce and Ben (guilty on both counts) should feel at ease here from the opener ‘All In Good Time’, born for a stadium singalong. ‘Tough People’ even slips in a 1-2-3-4 count, and it could be an anthem for these challenging times. “Tough times they never last, tough people do”, Reel sings in a lyric that also touches on bankruptcy, redundancy and greedy banks, the Troubles, and how to survive them. The croonsomely soulful ‘Like A Breeze’ glides smoothly along with a catchy melody. ‘New Jerusalem’ is a solid 12-bar floorfiller, while Reel’s harmonica on ‘Fine Wine’ will also strike a chord back in Asbury Park. But it’s not all Bruce. ‘Round The Next Bend’ is a seductive slow-mover, with Reel’s voice as deliciously expressive as Roy Orbison. The album ends with plaintively with ‘Borrowed Time’, also featuring Will Kimborough’s tasty electric guitar and harmony vocals from Julianne Black Reel. Her backing vocals bring much to the album, especially on the mid-tempo ‘Up There In The Sky’ which starts as a more introspective item but soon builds into a wailing rocker with gritty electric guitar from Kimborough. 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. 7.5/10”

Jackie Hayden - Hotpress, The Nashville Calling review March 2020

Ben started in 2007 as a welcome guest on the Dutch stages. Beside his own irish musicians he also has a Dutch band (Haarlem boys). Normally his cd's fall in the category" interesting but Ok". Till he decided to make this one in Nashville. This cd is not only by far his best cd, we can speak of "the candy of the month". Almost made within 3 days with Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack & Garry Tallent from E Street band onboard. These 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

The Nashville Calling is the ninth album by Irish singer / songwriter Ben Reel. The Irishman has been making music for over twenty years and has built up a very respectable track record. Since his debut This Is The Movie from 1999 and his last album Land Of Escape from 2018, he has developed himself as a solo artist and together with his band he recorded this new album in Nashville in the span of just under three days! Musical outings. After the first thirty seconds of "All In Good Time" you know that this new album by the sympathetic Irishman will be fine. The pleasant mix of Americana, Folk and Country is immediately infectious in this opener and the inspiration of Springsteen's music is palpable. Then he switches to "Tough People", a song that is actually unexpectedly topical in this current difficult time (Tough times they never last, tough people do). On this uptempo song you get the feeling that the voice of Reel comes close to that of Roy Orbison. Every now and then the Irishman makes a musical outing, such as with the subtle and soulful "Like A Breeze", where a comparison with Paul Carrack may not be strange, and with the wonderfully swinging Rock "n Roller" New Jerusalem ". Excellent tire Of course we also find The Nashville Calling some quieter songs. Just listen to songs like "Broken" and "Fine Wine", which, partly due to the harmonica and the structure, are reminiscent of the small, personal songs of The Boss. "Safe And Sound" is not really a ballad, but an understated song in which Reel manages to create a certain intensity together with the participating session musicians. We also find a striking name among those musicians; Gary Talent from the famous E Street Band provides the bass part on this album. With the seductive "Round The Next Band", again with the modest but all-important role of Julieanne Black as the background singer, we probably mention the price track of this album. For example, the level on The Nashville Calling is consistently high and Reel proves to be in good mood with "Up There In The Sky", with a nice piece of guitar playing. Ben Reel closes with the beautiful "Borrowed Time", in which we also want to mention guitarist Will Kimbrough. Final verdict The eleven beautiful songs on The Nashville Calling make for a balanced album where the quality really drips. The enchanting mix of various music styles such as Folk, Americana, Soul etc. makes for a fascinating and varied album. The idea was to introduce the audience to this collection of new songs live during a number of performances in the Netherlands, but because all performances have been canceled until further notice, we (unfortunately) have to do it with the album for the time being. All in all a great production. Have fun listening. - 8.5/10 stars” - CORNÉ VAN GROENEDAAL

click here for Dutch translation - M Podia, Netherlands - The Nashville Calling review 2020

Admittedly this writer was drawn to Irish roots rocker Ben Reel when learning that the album was produced by Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack. Then, Reel’s voice just took over – so soulful, so confident and such a perfect complement to his poetic lyrics. And, when Garry W. Tallent’s (E-Street Band) name appeared as bassist, it sealed the deal, just had to listen to the whole album. The Nashville Calling needs to be heard beyond just a small circle of Nashville’s Americana clan or music journalists. These are songs that helped Reel escape the strife in Northern Ireland. 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, although, of course, they weren’t written for that reason. As Womack says about Reel, “Blessed with a vision and his tremendous voice, he gets inside his words and music and makes magic.” The album was recorded in just three days, all with live takes. In addition to Kimbrough and Womack on guitars, Tallent on bass, Evan Hutchings did the drumming while Reel’s wife, Julieanne sang backing vocals. Reel has been called “The Irish Springsteen” and when listening to tracks such as the opening “All in Good Time” and the closer, “Borrowed Time,” the resemblance is uncanny. Tallent must have been doing double takes during the sessions. In troubadour tradition Reel addresses the world and how it needs to stop looking at the past in “New Jerusalem.” In “Imagination,” he begs the world to think outside the box with problem-solving. Ben gets romantic as well, with songs like “Fine Wine” and “Like A Breeze,” like conversations that might take place in the kitchen or on the back porch under the stars. And, to be fair, he sounds like others besides Springsteen on some tracks, absorbing Memphis soul, Texas swing, and early rock n’ roll. Reel, as many may know, is no newcomer. The Nashville Calling is Reel’s ninth album, throughout a successful 20-plus year career that has carried him through the years, between Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Since his debut album This Is the Movie back in 1999, Ben has reinvented himself from record to record, 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.” Ben’s last effort, Land Of Escape, had him exploring social and cultural issues that Americana-UK called “intelligent” and “slow-burning.” The album is chock full of great songs, melodically, lyrically and of the gut-punching variety too. One of the standout tracks is “Up There In The Sky,” the video for which was filmed at an Irish boxing club using black and white film. The song is all about grabbing life by the horns, taking chances and above all, having the self-confidence to do so: “Everybody’s got one moment in their life/When all the stars align/Everybody’s got one title shot/When all the luck is on your side/When you’ve got that hunger in your heart/And you know it is your time/ And you’ve been touched by the hand of God/And you glow like a blinding light” His heart-wrenched vocal in “Safe and Sound” is chill-inducing. He becomes a convincing crooner on “Round the Next Bend” where his voice, reaching notes like Roy Orbison, blends beautifully with Julieanne. Another great lyrical song is “Broken” where the lyrics hearken back to his time in Ireland. Sounding like Dylan with his harmonica and opening lyric – “Broken people, broken homes, broken nose, broken bones” and later “Hard times come; hard times stay/Some folks know no other way /Struggling just to get through this hard day/Struggling most their lives away” Reel is a native of Silverbridge, South Armagh, in Ireland, and soon after high school at the age of 17, he started his musical career in 1989 performing and songwriting with the local band, Trim The Velvet, before going solo in the late nineties. He first picked up the guitar when he was fifteen years old, inspired by the realness of the likes of Springsteen, Van Morrison, and Neil Young, whose music struck a chord that resonated deep into Reel’s psyche. Reel proudly wears these comparisons on his chest when it comes to his approach to performing and writing. One of the most exhilarating moments of being a songwriter is to write with your fellow artists, and Ben has a legendary list for himself. Amongst them are Hal Ketchum, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Tony McLoughlin, Irene Kelly, and the late great David Olney. Over the past decade, Ben has toured in Ireland, UK, Europe, and the U.S., building a growing loyal fan base. He will occasionally perform as solo or duo with his wife Julieanne or with his Dutch band `The Haarlem Boys,’ but mainly he plays with his Irish band Ben Reel Band. 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.”

Jim Hynes, Glide Magazine U.S.A - The Nashville Calling review 2020

A collaboration between Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen is an interesting thought that BEN REEL has been maintaining in theory for more than 20 years. In practice, the Irish songwriter is an advocate of Roots Rock and Americana and is always looking for his home port between the two artists just mentioned, sometimes with a focus on jazzy basic structures, sometimes driven by bluesy thoughts, but always very emotional and moving. On his ninth album "The Nashville Calling" the range goes even further. Folk, R&B and isolated reggae parts are part of the colorful smorgasbord of current inspiration, which Reel has preserved with a calm and serenity that is infectious. The Irishman is passionate about it, especially in the ballad-like moments of "The Nashville Calling", in which he never bulges too much. In between there is the finest rock'n'roll, a little country and finally a few cross-references to the work of Neil Young, who is also one of Reel's most valued role models. Nevertheless, there is one thing that lasts: Those who love Dylan and Springsteen will also love BEN REEL and finally "The Nashville Calling" - there is no need to say more! (BB) 11 points”

— Legacy (music magazine), Germany. The Nashville Calling review 2020

The Irish singer-songwriter, musician and producer Ben Reel from Silverbridge, South Armagh seems to us to be just about the most unrecognized top artist of the past two decades. Since his debut album "This Is The Movie" from 1999, he has released one great album after another. More or less it is actually impossible to conclude about the albums "Lost In A Haze" from 2001, "Sweet Victory" from 2004, "New Horizon" from 2007, "Time To Get Real" from 2009, "Darkness & The Light ”From 2013,“ 7th ”from 2015 and“ Land Of Escape ”from 2018. After having been active for ten years, he also brought his best songs from that period 1999-2009 together on the beautiful compilation album“ 10 ”. Nobody should be surprised that we are very pleased to hear that a completely new album by Ben Reel is coming. "The Nashville Calling" is the title of the eleven beautiful songs containing the ninth album that, as the title suggests, was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. The producers of this record, which is almost completely recorded live in just three days, are the living Nashville legends Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack. They also play along with the songs sung by Ben Reel: Will Kimbrough on guitars, piano, melotron, mandolin and dobro and Tommy Womack on electric guitar. Both have also provided backing vocals, while the Bruce Springsteens' "E Street Band" bass player Garry W Tallent played the bass guitar and Evan Hutchings the drums and his lovely wife Julieanne Black Reel took care of the female backing vocals. 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". It all starts with the uptempo song "All In Good Time" and the exceptionally easy-to-hear "Tough People" that reminds us of the sound of supergroup "The Traveling Wilburys". In terms of voice we find Ben Reel occasionally close to the late Roy Orbison. We hear that especially in the ballads on this album, songs such as "Safe And Sound", the wonderfully emotional pearl "Round The Next Bend" and the two harmonica-inspired songs "Fine Wine" and "Broken". Furthermore, it is also immeasurably enjoying the first single released song "Up There In The Sky" (see video) and album closing "Borrowed Time". Ben Reel will present the new songs from the album "The Nashville Calling" live in March and April together with his best older work during a series of performances that unfortunately will only take place in the Netherlands. At many of those shows he will be accompanied by his Dutch band "The Haarlem Boys" who will then take over the task as instrumentalists from his Irish group "The Ben Reel Band". If you had the opportunity to attend one of those shows, we can highly recommend a visit to such an event.” - Freddie Cells

click here for Dutch translation - Rootstime, Belguim - The Nashville Calling review -March 2020

Singer-songwriter of Irish origins but with American friendships and a love not too hidden for the sounds that nourished him from overseas, Ben Reelhe had his "call" thanks to the intercession of his friend Tommy Womack. For those who frequent the slums of the rock of the roots of the other Nashville, the name of the latter could say something, to the others it is enough to know that Womack picked up the phone on one evening in January 2019, while Reel was in tour in Salzburg, and he proposed the idea of ​​a record to be recorded in the country capital, with a crowd of excellent musicians available. Packed up, our Ben took the ball: it doesn't happen every day to have Will Kimbrough's guitars around (from Todd Snider to Grayson Capps to a thousand others, a name that matters a lot in the lap and also with a discreet solo career), In three days, at the Skinny Elephant Studios in Nashville, with the production of the same couple Womack-Kimbrough, they recorded eleven original songs that do not reinvent anything but still spin the wheel of that rock'n'roll that smells of country, of soul, sometimes even tempting the more jaunty pop guitar sound card. On the other hand, Ben Reel made a little apprenticeship and it seems to me that the job is all there: he has been around for twenty years, he made his debut in 1999 with This Is the Movie, has played far and wide between Europe and the States, sharing the stage with David Olney, Eric Andersen and Tommy Womack himself, and some songs have also placed it on national radio and BBC. Above all, it boasts a voice that keeps it up, with strength and dignity, while the compositions convince, with the right electric vibrations, starting from the heartland rock of All in Good Time , that it could be in the company of all those outiders who have chosen the beat of the street as a reason for living. It was the turn of the more easy-going rhythm of Tough People , which reminded me of the late Greg Tropper, another adopted son of Nashville, while Safe and Soundhe chooses a minor and more dramatic tone, with a beautiful vocal interpretation of Ben Reel and the choruses of his partner Julieanne Black Reel and an always incisive work by Kimbrough, which is divided between guitars, organ, electric piano. Like a Breeze promises what it says in the title, it is light and soulful, a bit funky, and it goes well with the melody of Immagination , although our Irish expatriate offers the best of his sample in the drama of Up There In the Sky , a ballad urban rock with bluish tones, which opens up to a match full of folk perfumes. The harmonica is added to the roots dress of Fine Wine, while Broken and Borrowed Time are a twilight match in Tennessee, where rural fragrances emerge, with dobro and mandolin interventions. A song came true, Ben Reel says, and with The Nashville Calling he seized his opportunity: perhaps he did not return to Ireland with a masterpiece in his hands, but a handful of honest songs, played with the right spirit, this certainly.”

Davide Albini, Roots Highway, Italy - The Nashville Calling review 2020

In the Netherlands, Ben Reel has built up quite a reputation in the past two decades, mainly thanks to the many live performances that he gave here. Like Gregory Page, he now knows the roads in the Netherlands better than many Dutch people. It is not surprising that on the day of the release of his ninth album The Nashville Calling he will be promoted in the Netherlands. As always, his albums never disappoint. Alternately, the beautiful predecessor Land of Escape was a bit more subdued and a little less rootsy than we were used to from Ben. Ben went to the Skinny Elephant Recording Studio in Nashville to record his latest album. For the production he could call on Will Kimbrough, one of the best musicians in America, which also applies to co-producer Tommy Womack. In addition, he had bassist Garry Tallent, known for the legendary E Street Band. The album was recorded live in the studio in just three days. The uptempo opener All In Good Time immediately makes it clear that Ben has made a more Americana and rootsy album, on which almost all songs contain the backing vocals of lady sweetheart Julieanne. And as we are used to from Ben, his singing is always full of passion. The Nashville Calling is yet another wonderful addition to his expanding body of work, fans probably know enough.”

Theo Volk, Music that needs attention (NL) - The Nashville Calling review 2020

The title "The Nashville Calling" is a little confusing. If you prepare yourself for a pure country album, you will soon be taught otherwise. The Irishman has a lot to offer on his ninth LP, of course the large number of different musical instruments also contributes to this. Not only the acoustic is responsible for the sound that moves between country, folk, pop and well-tried rock sounds, but also the electric guitar, the melotron, a mandolin and the indispensable harmonica characterize the album, which was recorded in Nashville. And sometimes, probably because of the harmonica, the thought of Dylan as in "Broken" does not fail to materialize. The name of a participating musician is also proudly emphasized. Bass player Garry W Tallent is a founding member of the legendary E Street Band. Exactly the band that Bruce Stringsteen has been with for half a century. In order to make the sound more lively, the album was recorded live. It took the musician three days to complete the ten songs in which his wife sings in the background. Reel starts with “All In Good Time”. A song that is driven by guitars from a drum set, with an organ casually-small in the background. With "Tough People", the good mood sound continues to rise. Thoughtful and a touch gentler including guitar solo it becomes "Safe And Sound". The quiet part of the album predominates with beautiful melodies like "Up There In The Sky," or "Imagination", in which Reel asks to use his imagination, because "Imagination is the key to change the world"! If only it were that easy. With a few nice songs on "The Nashville Calling", Ben Reel has already managed to change the world a bit. Even if it is only for a short time listening to the eleven tracks.” - Martina

Soundmag.de, Germany. The Nashville Calling review 2020

Irishman Ben Reel is one of the not so small band of musicians in Ireland who see their musical salvation less in their homeland (in his case probably Irish Folk), but in the opportunities that the music culture of the USA offers them. In this respect, he felt more influenced by Bruce Springsteen than Van Morrison. You can still hear that in his music. Since Reel divided his time between Europe and the USA anyway, he naturally did not miss the opportunity to record a disc in Nashville when the opportunity arose. It is hardly surprising that no country album could come out under these conditions, because the studio cracks that Reel gathered on this occasion actually include Gary Tallent from Springsteen's E-Street Band. The result is a song-oriented (soft) rock disc that comes with more heartland flair than Nashville-Ruch - but still draws on the pulsating musical vitality of the music city.”

Ullrich Maurer, Gaesteliste.de, Germany - The Nashville Calling review 2020

Having worked with many Nashville writers, the South Armagh musician has learned his trade and, on his eight album, presents a series of atmospheric, well crafted and smartly arranged songs” - Eamon Carr

— Evening Herald. Land of Escape review 2018