First let's get the pronunciations correct, that's Reis (rhymes with
"beige") and his album is called 'Bilene' (that's "Bee-Lenn"). Terence (of
Portuguese, Welsh and English descent!) came to South Africa via LM and
Malawi. A Drama degree at Wits led to an acting career of note as he became
the "Reis" of the SA theatre scene. He starred in a string of dramatic
productions from 'Macbeth' to 'Death Of A Salesman', took the leads in the
SA productions of 'Hair' and 'The Buddy Holly Story', won
numerous acting nominations and awards for his stage and TV performances,
and worked and appeared with the Not The Midnight Mass group.
But it seems there's still a rocker itching to get out and Reis has been
regularly writing for and performing with The Cuban Doctors, and has now
recorded and released his debut album. To do this he called in a mixture of
musicians - Garth Victor (k), Rob Watson (d), Efrain Toro (perc) - and put
Graham Currie in charge of the whole operation. Currie, who also plays bass
on the album (as he did with Big Sky behind Rodriguez on the first SA
tour), programmed 'Bilene' with Craig Dodds, and got the legendary Peter
Thwaites to master it.
All these songs are originals and in many places approximate the album that
could have resulted had JJ Cale and Mark Knopfler ever pooled their talents
- the kind of album that could possibly lure Chris Prior out of retirement.
It's a big-hearted, crystal-sounding, adult-orientated folk rock album that
starts getting very warm and familiar after a while. 'Bilene' opens
strongly with 'Perfect Love', a stirring folk rock song with violins and
gruff vocals. Then follows a long second song called 'Everything Okay',
which has a 4-minute guitar instrumental before the lyrics even begin.
The balance of the tracks on 'Bilene' are similar bright and optimistic
folk-rock ballads, and with Reis's actor's ear for catchy lyrics always
apparent, it's a lasting and entertaining piece of work.