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Asleep At The Reel Wait For No-One

Asleep At The Reel Reviewed

Asleep At The Reel

‘Time and Tide

An Authentic and Well-Conceived Folk Project

By Rob Dickens

No, it’s not the iconic Western Swing band based in Austin, Texas – Asleep At The Wheel.

Nor does it relate to the angler’s lament of a lost catch.

Asleep at the Reel in fact is a four piece outfit hailing from Brisbane Australia who have captured perfectly, on Time and Tide (a 2021 independent release), the gamut of Celtic folklore presented in an Australian context.

Asleep at the Reel are: Mark Cryle (guitar and vocals), Mick Nolan (bass and vocals), Hugh Curtis (fiddle, mandolin and vocals) and Suzanne Hibbs (drums and percussion).

The title track is a reflective ballad which leans on speeches and writings of Thomas Meagher, a prominent figure in the Young Irelanders rebellion in 1848. Meagher was found guilty of sedition and transported for life to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Although he escaped to the U.S. in 1852 he never returned to his homeland.

“The South Sea Island Trade” is another dramatic highlight – the tale of the oppression of Melanesian labour in Queensland agriculture which drew the attention of the British Anti-Slavery Society, as is the bush-fire blackened “Rise”. Another strong tale in “Celtic Castaway”, the melodic harmonies of “Less Than Lovers”, the Van Morrison muse in “Midnight In Montreal”, the gloriously wistful “When My Ship Comes In” and the catchy lilt of “The Burning Streets of Belfast” – all compelling.


The songs here are by Mark Cryle (who is a mighty fine songwriter indeed), arranged by the band and Michael Fix, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Fix at Parklands Studio during December 2020 and June 2021.

Time and Tide follows The Emerald Dream (2018).

(To be honest, I struggled to find a video that properly captures the precision and spirit of the album – search not aided by the myriad (school?) of fishing clips. Damn shame.)

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Asleep At The Reel Reviewed

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Author: Rob Dickens

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