Every so often an album appears that leaves me spellbound. The second solo album from Scotland’s Ben Reynolds, How Day Earnt Its Night, is one such arrival. Crammed full of some of the most impressive solo guitar playing imaginable Ben has produced a CD that taps nicely into the atmosphere of traditional British folk as well as touching upon similar inspiration from across the Atlantic.
Ben is also a member of the Glasgow band The Trembling Bells, whose album Carbeth appeared back in April. He plays solo steel guitar with all the delicate intricacy and captivating style of a Bert Jansch, and that is not a comparison to fling about carelessly.
He has also been compared to the likes of Davy Graham, Michael Chapman, and John Fahey. I make no apologies for repeating them as these comparisons just can’t be avoided. Hopefully they help shine a light on his sound for those who have yet to experience it.
I first heard his playing on his 2008 debut solo album Two Wings. There was something almost spiritual and meditational going on deep within his work which was revealed during that album. His gift is in producing hauntingly melodic pieces rich with atmosphere and played with technical brilliance.
How Day Earnt Its Night sees Reynolds further exploring his journey through his folk based inspiration on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s a beautifully evocative trip through some breathtaking playing. For me, I am all but transported back to the early sixties London scene, as I imagine it to have been, with the likes of John Martyn, Nick Drake and of course, Bert Jansch playing to intimate spellbound audiences.
He never loses the emotional impact of what he is playing and manages to retain a freshness and immediacy. The album is alive rather than over produced and air brushed. You find yourself holding your breath as he becomes ever more intricate as though you are in a live setting and waiting on every note.