Marty O’Reilly brings his unique blend to the Square Tower

Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra
Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra
The Southsea Alternative Choir  Picture: Paul Windsor

REVIEW: The Southsea Alternative Choir The Southsea Cafe

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Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra are returning to the UK for a string of shows, following a tour of mainland Europe.

The four-piece band is based in Santa Cruz, California. This will be their third time bringing their distinct blend of alternative folk, blues and American roots music to the UK.

‘Every time we come to the UK, I’m struck by the sense of community here,’ says O’Reilly, the band’s leader.

‘No matter where we play, people are excited about music and they show up for it. We meet so many people and each year when we come back, we can pick up where we left off.’

O’Reilly’s voice carries the band with soul and grit, complemented by his electrified resonator guitar.

Chris Lynch’s versatile violin-playing sometimes sounds like a distorted blues harp, while at other times he sounds like a full orchestral string section.

Ben Berry (bass) and Matt Goff (drums) add a loose and driving propulsion to the music, transitioning seamlessly between drunken bar waltzes, foot-stomping folk songs and complex interlocking grooves.

‘Playing together as a band, we all have the same goal,’ says O’Reilly.

‘When we are all in the same headspace, we get to a point where the music just takes care of itself. That’s when it feels like magic.’

The band has released two albums - 2014’s full length Pray For Rain, and Preach ‘Em Now!, a five song EP released on RANDM records.

‘We’ve been working on a lot of new material lately,’ O’Reilly confides. “‘A lot of it was started last year, the last time we were in the UK. We had a ton of time in the van, on the road, and I started a handful of songs then that are just coming to fruition now.’

When asked about the inspiration for the band’s new original material, O’Reilly stops to consider. ‘I think that the songs we’re writing now are less about paying homage to any particular sound or style, and really just creating music with our own voice. It’s more personal, it’s more authentic. It’s an exciting time for us.’

The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth

Saturday, June 18

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