Officially launching his new album ‘Atlantic’, Ben brought with him Matt McGinn (bass guitar, acoustic guitar and percussion) and Colm McLean (electric guitar and pedal steel). Both helped Ben record the album in Donegal so were already familiar with the new material and together they formed a tight band. We’ve watched Ben perform a few times, but tonight we notice there’s a new confidence and stronger stage presence than we’ve seen before. With the help of the aforementioned musicians he passionately sings the newer material and it sounds great. ‘Too Long Gone’ is an early highlight of the show in which Ben really belts out the lyrics and the vocal harmonies with the other two really give this song an edge when performed live. There’s more subtle stuff too. ‘Oh Soul’ really works well live as does ‘Blackbird’, in fact we were slightly surprised that it sounded so good without Gretchen Peters who adds so much to the recorded version. Still, we look forward to getting the chance to hear the two of them perform it together one day.
The capacity audience love the older material too. A medley of ‘I Am, You Are’ and Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’ almost brings the roof down.
This was a personal and intimate show and one of the best we’ve seen Ben deliver. No doubt his confidence has been buoyed by the well deserved positive reviews and reception that ‘Atlantic’ has received. At the end of the show he makes time to meet and greet as many of the audience as possible, patiently signing CDs and listening to what his music means to the people who’ve come to see him tonight.
This was a special show which the fans, family members and even the reviewer will remember for a long time.