Album review: BEN REEL – The Nashville Calling

BEN REEL - The Nashville Calling

Ceol Music [Release date 03.03.20]

Recorded in Nashville, produced by Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack, and featuring E Street Band’s Garry W Tallent on bass, Ben Reel’s 9th studio album finds him paying homage to The Boss.  At least, in part.

In the can in just 3 days, with all takes recorded ‘live’ The Nashville Calling has an Americana, rootsy feel with the opening pairing of ‘All In Good Time’ and ‘Tough People’ imbued with the spirit of The Big ‘O’ and The Boss.  Had Springsteen taken a spin with The Wilburys it would surely have sounded like the latter.

‘Round The Next Bend’ starts out classic Roy, morphs through Bruce, and even throws in a hint of The King for good measure, while ‘Fine Wine’ again blends aspects of Roy and Bruce to good effect – in Western Stars style.  The wistful, harmonica imbued ‘Broken’ would sit equally comfortably in the latter’s setlist.

For those looking for some more familiar ground, ‘Safe And Sound’ and the excellent ‘Like A Breeze’ lay down lazy, soulful, bluesy grooves, ‘Up There In The Sky’ – another album standout – is an impassioned stadium rocker, and ‘New Jerusalem’ classic 12 bar blues.

Meanwhile, the mournful, set closing ‘Borrowed Times’ is a suitable reminder that, as with all Ben Reel albums, whatever the style, the quality control is always set high.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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