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Irene & Reed / Press

“A guttural deep soul blues, reminding us of an old world flow that has evolved into a new world frontier.”

“It’s a fantastic sound that has a unique rhythm and groove, a fluid timbre that flows within its own soul, its own sound, and its own sensation.”

“Late Period Steampunk: Blue Iron or Blue Steel. A jazz / blues / industrial revolution.”

“It was only natural that these two crazy kids get together and form an acoustic piano/lounge singer act called Irene and Reed that itself is now evolving.”

“Indy's own Irene & Reed exist in that fedora-and-opera-gloves ideaspace that’s equal parts classy and seedy — the kind of band you might see at the beginning of a mob movie playing the high-end bar while the snitches are getting beat up out back.”

“Irene and Reed — erstwhile NUVOite Leslie Benson and onetime Form 30/Nimbus member Jason Milner and friends — is very much a 1950s torch-song piano band. Milner keeps his head down, obscured by fedora, as he thunders away at the keyboard, while Benson plays the frontwoman, a femme fatale caressing the mike as she croons away soul-searching lyrics and weaves tales of loss and hope.”

“Irene & Reed keep things a little cooler and close-mic'ed, with a torch song flavor.”

“In a nutshell: Vocalist Leslie Benson and keyboard player Jason Milner create a sonic playhouse for strong- willed love songs and dreams of better days.”

“The ethereal and theatrical sounds of Sarah McLachlan are echoed here, with lounge-friendly passages allowing Irene & Reed a connection to the real world.”

“Benson has combined the influences, skills and education she received over the years with a lifetime love of music, finding a partner and friend in the process.”

“[Leslie Benson of Irene & Reed] has strength in writing and journalism, but she has a long history with music and bands. She has her feet in the past, present, and future. She’s in three places at once and very comfortable so.”

“Didn't see it coming: It's a rare treat to hear a music journalist take a commanding voice into the spotlight. (Benson helmed NUVO Newsweekly's music coverage in 2006 and 2007.)”

“That's a keeper: An engaging flurry of seasoned philosophy launches 'All Your Tomorrows,’ the album's opening track: ‘Home to me is not where I am, but where I've been. It's where I come from. How I've loved, and how I've left. Words I've said, and tears I've wept. Ones I've learned from.’ Intensifying the emotional wallop is the song's room-to-breathe spacing of piano, bass and drums.”

“The verdict: [Jason Reed] Milner has mastered a distinctive Irene & Reed sound, .... He's gifted enough to be inventive and embrace the moxie heard on ‘Small Miracles’ "You can't stop me, I'm unstoppable. I put my faith in small miracles.”

“Seven years of silence taught Midwest songwriter and Wright State alumna Leslie Irene Benson that stories really are worth telling.”

“Fans of dark-tinged Americana need to make their way to this show.”

“Jason Reed Milner is a force to be reckoned with. …It is refreshing to hear a piano played by someone who not only has the talent to make it sing, but also uses it to convey a message… one that truly comes across as an artist. He also understands the fine art of allowing the song to breathe. He does not ‘showboat’ and undercut the message of the song or overrun the words.”

“They are classic versions of a time past, and they are humble. …[They are] two people willing to be vulnerable and expose themselves for exactly what they are.”

“The sultry, haunting lounge sound of their debut, 'Closer to Home,' comes naturally. Their optimistic lyrics speak of exploring your roots and the joys of home. Indeed, they do sound as hip and sexy as they look.”

“Irene & Reed have a great sound and much talent. I get a vibe of early Fiona Apple — good and moody but not a copycat of anything. It's jazzy pop... Good, good stuff. I highly recommend catching them live and picking up their CD, 'Closer to Home.'”

Jennie DeVoe - singer-songwriter

“You [Leslie Benson of Irene & Reed] have a gorgeous, smoky voice... really sultry and with a kind of classic edge. …You’re a kind of mix between Sara Bareilles and Greta Garbo—modern meets the Golden Age of Hollywood... Track 7 [‘Good Medicine’] is hands down my favorite [from 'Closer to Home']; it's the song I keep coming back to [for its] engaging lyrics and unexpected melodic and chordal movement.”

“By releasing their inner superheroes, the musicians have constructed a creative outlet through their songs. This is true art.”

“Irene & Reed put their own sexy and sophisticated stamp on pop. ‘Closer to Home’ is full of impeccable arrangements and surprisingly sweet twists. ”

Eric Brown, President - Audio Recon Digital and Jazz Meridian Records

“The lyrical depth of 'Closer to Home' is striking, catchy and accessible. Perhaps the aspect most endearing is the intimacy displayed throughout. A feeling of vulnerability permeates many of these songs.”

“'Closer to Home' has an antique ambiance.... The combination of the smooth, rich vocals and jazzy piano add to this old-time theme.”

“Joyous, refreshing, soulful and best of all, from the heart.”

Chris Conner - Eden Promotions

“Irene & Reed create jazzy, piano-based songs fueled by Leslie Benson's powerful vocals. They do what Tori Amos hasn’t done in a decade and what Fiona Apple doesn’t do enough of. ”

Josh Flynn - Nuvo and IndianaMusicProject.com

“Indianapolis resident and Terre Haute native Jason Reed Milner plays everything he knows by ear, almost effortlessly.”

“It’s a juxtaposition between playful banter and serious songwriting that keep the [songwriters] musically compatible.”