So how do you like the new place? It is currently a work in progress here but hopefully I will have the whole place kitted out before too long. In the meantime I thought I would get back to the bread and butter of this blog which is great music. I have been previewing recently artists who are playing at the Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots Festival happening next month and I came across the music of Ben Reel. After listening to a few of his tracks, I thought Ben definitely deserves to be written about on this blog.
Ben has quite an established career and I am surprised that I have not come across his music before. Just last year he released his seventh studio album aptly called “7th”. His musical career though started as a teenager when he got involved in music and formed a band at the age of 17. His inspiration for his musical journey was as he says himself, hearing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” which encouraged him to pick up a guitar for the first time. After a few years with a band, Ben decided to go it alone and in 1999 branched out into a solo career. I won’t go through all seven albums here but instead I’ll try give you a flavour of the musical style of Ben Reel.
His sound could definitely fall into the category of rock-americana. Not as angst as some folk-americana and more polished than your average alt-country band, he blends that usual instrument line-up with some affecting lyrics. “Heart Just Won’t Heal” from his 2013 release “Darkness & The Light” typify’s Ben’s sound.
His style is reminiscent of Chris Knight, Rodney Cowell and John Hyatt, troubadours in the real sense of reflecting the world around them but also singing on the constant themes of love and loss. His style has steadly progressed to this point over the course of his career, Some of his earlier work suggests acoustic folk. The progression is evident in the title track from his 2007 release “New Horizon”. The song is almost psychedelic in its arrangement and reminds me of Roger Waters writing in many ways. With the pipes and harmonica converging its a real bleed of instruments and styles from both sides of the Atlantic.
The different releases of Ben Reel’s discography so far is reassuring. It suggests an artists always testing and experimenting with his own sound. His latest release “7th” was recorded in his own home studio in South Armagh. The album cements his own sound and is a contuniation of “Darkenss & The Light” in many ways. It features some fine, polished, straight-up no fuss americana. Often the simplest approach yields the best results.
A true troubadour of the genre who pedigree is evident in his career output so far. If your a fan of no-nonsense americana-rock, you’re bound to find something you like in his back catalogue.
Find out more about Ben via his website. You can also catch up with his regular gigs on the site and listen to a selection of his tracks. He is also on Facebook and a number of his songs are on Soundcloud too.