Marc O' Reilly
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Marc O' Reilly


Band Folk Blues




"Marc O’Reilly – My Friend Marx"

Marc O’Reilly. Yet again this Green Isle produces a singer/songwriter worthy of a mention but the answer to the question remains to be seen, how long will Marc O’Reilly stay on the airwaves? Originally from Waterford, O’Reilly has spent time in many different Alt Rock bands but now has decided to take the step out on his own.

Once the album starts you are instantly hit with Marc’s excellent fretwork and finger-picking style. A man who truly has absorbed every inch of his guitar. A soft gravel that rings from his voice makes you sit up even more, a true story-telling vibe. It’s only when one takes a closer listen and begins to realise the cracks can’t be hidden. Lyrically, O’Reilly lacks the stories and originality.

Each song is beautifully composed musically, but O’Reilly often leaves himself down towards the end of many of his songs like Hail and Tell Old Joe by bursting into a new faster tempo. It’s here where he slips back into the generic field. Mumford & Sons got away with it for a while, but have plunged down the charts and it does make one wonder. Especially with Tell Old Joe and Get Back, O’Reilly simply tries to step outside his Irish roots and have a shot at some Southern American Folk Blues and unfortunately produces moments worth forgetting in the album.

However Marc O’Reilly cannot be written off, it does sound like you have heard it before, but there is glimpses of originality and even with the lyrical frailties, it is often masked by the gravel in his voice. The stand out track of the album is definitely 20 Minutes For 2 Years. The song swings so simply over and back that you just cannot help but keep rhythm, then with the introduction of the strings shows that there is a genuine talent here. Narrow Street and Family Reunion are two other songs that stand above the rest. An African Day the only instrumental track on the album (which is a shame), truly displays O’Reilly’s amazing technique and style.

Marc O’Reilly has plenty of potential to be far better than what he already is. It’s just a matter of sticking to his roots and writing about what he knows best, which is life experiences instead of trying to sing about Baghdad and the war. I can’t help but get the feeling that with patience and tweaking Marc O’Reilly could cement himself amongst some of our contemporary Irish artists.

Drop-d Rating: 7/10 - Drop-d magazine by Mikey Shinnick

"My Friend Marx Salt&Shake Records ***"

An adventurous, promising set by the Waterford singer and songwriter. Driven by his insistent, folk-bluesy guitar picking, the 12 tracks are occasionally fleshed out by elaborate choirs and string settings, adding complexity to what would otherwise be a monochrome sound of voice and guitar, notwithstanding the former’s attractive huskiness and the flair of the latter. Big themes of life and love predominate, and if songs such as the anti-US Lord of War and the title track promise more insight than they deliver, they carry the passion of youth. An African Day is a busy, colourful instrumental, while Family Reunion shapes into a fond memory. There are indulgences – the bluesy Get Back , for example, which is rescued by Kate Curran’s soaring trumpet – and lots of influences, from John Martyn to Kelly Joe Phelps and Tunng. But it’s a debut that augurs well. - Irish Times by Joe Breen

"Solid Debut From Waterford Strummer"

With Irish music in such great shape, it's easy to dismiss the idea of the song and guitar man as a tired one. Troubadours like Glen, Paddy and the Damiens were the cornerstone of the Irish sound at the turn of the century (it still feels cool to say that, don't it?), but with a kooky new genre materialising every other week on our damned isle, it doesn't seem like there's room for a crop of acoustic wonder-lads right now.
By stripping it right down to just a voice and a guitar, Waterford songwriter Marc O' Reilly is making a bit of a risky first move. Before I've gotten to the second song, I'm already pricking up my ears for some crazy gimmick or nutso Vocoder effect. Hey, don't look at me that way! It's 2011 and my attention span is shorter than Prince without his...erm...
So, you won't find any shiny doohickeys on the credits here, but O' Reilly still serves up flashes of real brilliance. The hushed French mumblings on "La Question" are hopelessly hip, the breakneck guitar on "Tell Old Joe" is rather thrilling an our master of ceremonies deserves massive props for managing to segue from Afro rhythms to near classical guitar so effortlessly on "An African Day".
Even the less extraordinary tracks bring a couple of clever touches; the muffled hums on "Lord of War", the shapeshifting tempo of the title track and the distinctive finger work on "The Scottish Widow" all help make this a remarkable debut. - Celina Murphy-HOT PRESS magazine

"Marc O’Reilly – My Friend Marx (Salt & Shake Records)"

Ok, let’s get this thing out of the way – Marc O’Reilly’s voice bears an uncanny resemblance to what, at the time, seemed like a once-in-a-generation voice. However, whereas Ray LaMontagne, who brought us the majestic ‘Trouble’, has since that early career highlight graduated towards bland MOR, O’Reilly’s vibrant blues/folk indicates that he has the songcraft and musicianship to back up the voice and the words.

O’Reilly’s deft guitar playing throughout is a joy, such as on ‘Hail’, where the insistent picking slowly builds in intensity, before combining with percussion to give the latter half of the tune an almost electronic texture. Similarly, the bluesier ‘Tell Old Joe’ builds steadily before letting go with both barrels, in a post-Rory Gallagher acoustic mode.

The lyrics are strong throughout – the opening title track showcases O’Reilly’s easy-going storytelling abilities, while the introduction of strings recalls vintage Nick Drake. Elsewhere the wistful ‘Family Reunion’ and the observational ‘Narrow St’ are other highlights, both of which allow instrumentation to take a back seat to the narrative.

There are a couple of mis-steps here – O’Reilly somewhat bravely tackles the hoary old cliché of the anti-war protest song (‘Lord of War’) with mixed results, while ‘Get Back’ is a 5 minute dirge that finally shifts tempo too late for redemption. The album closes on a high, however, with ‘F.O.O.’, whose languid pace and hypnotic guitar strumming, reminiscent of Iron and Wine, draws us in to a tale of hearts broken, before subtle strings introduce a note of defiance as O’Reilly sings “I’m gonna feel somebody in my head again, I’m gonna love somebody in my head again”. A highly promising debut. - Ronnie Carroll-

"Dundrum Song club"

“Marc O'Reilly is singer songwriter and native of Waterford. His virtuoso folk guitar style amazes audiences wherever he goes, including elements of tapping, percussion and fingerpicking. It really has to be seen to be believed. His rich bluesy voice has echoes of John Martyn and Chris Rea”. –Aidan Murphy (Dundrum song Club) - Aidan Murphy

"Who's Marc O' Reilly?"

“I first heard Marc O'Reilly play guitar in the Cellar Bar in Galway. It was an open mic night in the late summer of 2009. The students were starting to trickle back into the city so there was only an average crowd in that night. Most people were there for the drinks promotions, or maybe to dare their mates to get up on stage to sing whatever song they usually sing when half drunk and full of dutch courage. Then, towards the end of the night, an entirely different figure took to the stage. As he set up his guitar and mic the chatter of an impatient room fuelled with 2 Euro Bavaria filled the air. Quietly spoken, Marc introduced himself with the crowd barely acknowledging his existence, not even looking up from their pints, let alone hushing up.

And then? Well, then he played his guitar and sang his songs. The crowd fell silent as a pulsating base line and a warm soulful voice washed over them. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that people were stunned into silence. Here was an obviously talented young man, on the cusp of something wonderful giving a superb performance of all original material to a crowd expecting drunken karaoke covers and girls with incredibly long hair warbling out rebel tunes with clasped hands and closed eyes. The crowd of the Cellar that night will always remember the night they first heard Marc O'Reilly play guitar.

Marc comes from a strong musical traditional, his family made up of accomplished performers. His father is a founder member of acclaimed folk band "the Loudest Whisper". Marc has spent his lifetime with guitar in one hand and notebook in the other, constantly writing song after song. Marc divides his time between Galway and Waterford, where he is currently adding the finishing touches to his much anticipated album. Marc's style is entirely his own. His music is firmly rooted in the genre of Indie-folk but with a strong blues/soul influence and subtle hints of dance music. His compositions are layered but are distinctly melodic and often display entrancing baselines with steady metronome like beats that enchant and draw you in. Marc O'Reilly's vocals are of an exceptional quality. His distinctive voice perfectly conveys the sentiment of each song. Marc has played support for the likes of David Kitt, but it is time he took the top billing. I have seen Marc play live a few times at this stage, and each show has always left me and the crowd, wanting more. The album cannot come quick enough in my opinion and if it lives up to the standard of his live shows, he is bound to go far.”
Jody Pierce, Flirt FM Galway
- Jody Pierce


My Friend Marx- February 2011
(Salt & Shake records).



My Friend Marx is the debut album from the freshest Irish voice of 2011. Marc O'Reilly's roots may lie in Waterford and France, but his sound rests somewhere between the American-influenced folk blues of Peter Green and contemporaries such as Ray LaMontagne and Gomez.

Following stints in different alt/rock bands, Marc began to make his mark in 2010 as a solo performer, playing at last summer's Electric Picnic festival and supporting fellow Irish songwriters including David Kitt. He also began the creative and recording process that has led to My Friend Marx's imminent release on new Irish indie label, Salt & Shake Records (run by publisher, Roger Woolman).

The themes that run throughout the album range from the intimate to the universal.The turbulence of the last few years in both the songwriter's life and globally is reflected in Marc's lyrics as he moves from social commentary ('Narrow Street') to the folly of middle eastern war ('Lord of War') and back to the despair of failed relationships (F.O.O.). On the flipside, however, are humorous looks at family life ('Family Reunion'), a knack for some old fashioned storytelling ('Tell Old Joe') and spirituality ('Hail').

Musically, Marc reveals himself as an excellent guitarist with fantastic fretwork peppered throughout the album. The songs vary from gentle and touching odes to more orchestral affairs, unafraid to push the boundaries of the genre where necessary without losing the essence of a songwriter with his feet firmly in the roots of classic folk blues.

Marc's musical journey has seen him play across different continents following gigs in the US and Australia, but he has been back based in Ireland for the release of My Friend Marx and has been touring extensively around the country over the past six months. As well as his own album-launching headliners Marc has also played support to some notable artists such as David Kitt, Duke Special, Ham Sandwich, Fred, John Spillane, Peter Mulvey and John Grant(ex-Czars).
Summer 2011 also saw Marc play some of the bigger music festivals in Ireland such as The Cork mid-summer Festival, Body and Soul Festival and Indiependence Music and Arts Festival. My Friend Marx also won "Best Music Video" at the Underground Short Film Festival in Cork in July.
October see's Marc release another single(Narrow Street) from his debut album followed by an Irish and UK tour, as well as his debut National Television appearance on Ireland's RTE 1's The View program. Marc is also Toronto bound in the new year for the Canadian Music Fest.