Artist of the Month: JJ McCleary

JJ McCleary is an incredibly talented photographer and his Instagram feed is one of the most inspiring set of photos you will see on any given day. Réaul had the privilege of working with JJ on the cover art for the new single "Can You Hear Me Now". We had an idea for what we wanted the photo to be about and JJ took it from there. The resulting cover photo really embodies and represents the emotion of the song. For more of JJ's work, check out his website at

JJ's Bio

Originally from Northern Wisconsin, JJ has lived in Indianapolis since 2001. He enjoys exploring both familiar and unfamiliar places, trying to capture in photographs the things that seem to stand out.

Can You Hear Me Now - Out Now

2016 RELEASE #4



The Story

This song was born from a time when I felt like I was struggling to be heard. Not just listened to, but really heard. Let's face it, this world can be extremely noisy. Everything is pushing and pulling for our attention.

This noisy clattering can creep its way into the deepest parts of our lives, drowning out everything that matters most to us. Most of the time, we don't even know its happened...until it effects our most intimate relationships.

There comes a critical point when we loose our voice. We loose our ability to have a dialog with the other person. It was in a moment like this, that I realized that no matter how many times I said how I felt or how loud I said it, I was never going to be heard. That weary point in my life made me realize that silence was the most powerful sound I could make.

Can you hear me now?

- Rick

Artist of the Month: Claire Enns

It's always fun to work with an artist or photographer for the first time. You really get to see the creative juices flowing. We'd like to introduce you to Claire Enns, a talented and upcoming photographer. She collaborated with Réaul to create the cover art for the latest single, "Love Fire". She used a photography technic with light to paint the lettering and heart. Very creative and we think it turned out pretty amazing. Check out her Facebook photography page to see more of her work.

Claire's Bio

Claire Enns is a junior photography major at Indiana Wesleyan University. Before moving to Indiana to pursue photography, she was born and raised in Meade, KS. While her focus is on fashion and editorial photography, creating this artwork was a great experience. Not only was it fun and different, but it opened up the door to new possibilities in a different area of photography.

Which came first...? Songs birthed from music


Sometimes I wish there was a specific formula to song writing that worked flawlessly every time.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  There are times when Rick comes to the band with a chorus line, including lyrics and melody, and the band sits down and writes the music around that.  Other times we have a subject that we want to write about, so we come together and write lyrics before coming up with melodies or music.

With other songs, like “On Top Of The World”, the music comes first.  Like the other situations, this presents it’s own set of challenges.  “What emotion does the music reflect?”  “Do we have a song idea that would fit this music?”  “How do we expand on the lick?”  These were questions that we had to answer when Dave brought us the guitar picking part that is now the main theme in “On Top Of The World”.  Here are a few techniques that we used that you should keep in mind:

Just Play

The first, and most obvious step in writing a musical piece that will launch a new song is to, well, write a musical piece.  Make time to practice on your own, and during that time, have time to “Free Play”.  Just play whatever your fingers decide to.  Don’t worry about time signatures, or what key you’re playing in.  Just play what sounds good to you.  It also doesn’t hurt to keep your phone, computer, or something that can record your ideas near by.  Record the ideas, and then go back to them after a few days and fine tune it.  If you find you’re having trouble coming up with something to play, pull out some of your favorite music, listen to it, and then imitate it.  I find that inspires me.

Be a Match Maker

“Remember, we are trying to marry this music to lyrics... it cannot be married to you.”

Now to start the process of marrying that music up to lyrics and melody lines.  In the same way that Dave played and recorded different guitar riffs, ALWAYS be coming up with new song subjects, lyric ideas, and melody lines.  Have your phone near by and record your ideas, no matter where you are (just ask Rick how many recordings are on his phone with traffic noises in the background!).  Go through that list of ideas and see if you have a match made in heaven, or at least something that remotely makes sense.  When Dave brought the guitar part to us, we did just that.  Fortunately, Rick had a recording of a song idea in his phone that went, “I lean against the hood looking over Hollywood.”  That’s all it was, those lyrics and the melody that you hear in the song today.  Now, the melody line that Rick had did not match perfectly with the music Dave had.  But we were able to take his lick and tweak it just enough to make it work.  With that said, another piece of advice, BE FLEXIBLE!!!  Remember, we are trying to marry this music to lyrics.  In order to do that, it cannot be married to you!

Go Fishing For Melody Lines

So, yeah, we got pretty lucky with Rick’s song idea and how well it matched with Dave’s part.  But, that was literally one line of the song, AND it wasn’t even the chorus.  Coming up with melodies for the rest of the song (Pre-chorus, Chorus, Bridge) seemed pretty daunting for us.  The easy part was to expand on Dave’s beautiful guitar part and write the music to the whole song from front to back, adding drums, bass, and orchestration.  After we had demoed all of that, we did something that, for us not so talented singers, was really intimidating.  Each one of us went into the vocal booth, put one part of the song on repeat, and just sang nonsense into the Mic.  A lot of it was, well... let’s just say it wasn’t going to earn us any Grammy’s.  But after we had recorded what felt like hundreds of takes, we all sat down, suffered through the worst, and picked out parts that we actually liked.  That was exactly how the Pre-chorus for “On Top Of The World” came to be.  

These are just a few techniques that we used in the writing process for “On Top Of The World”.  Though, like I said at the beginning of this post, there is no set formula for writing, I found that these steps got us pretty far.  What is really fascinating about this process is that they are interchangeable.  Whether the song idea starts with music, lyrics, melody, or just an idea, these steps can help any concept take shape.  

- Michael Neeley

New Single "On Top Of The World" Out Now!

Our brand new single "On Top Of The World" is now available in stores and on Spotify! Make sure you push that follow button on our Spotify page to get exclusive playlists and updates.

So what are you waiting for? Go get your copy and go get your stream on!

Follow Réaul on Spotify

Artist of the Month: Anabell Connell

We'd like to introduce you to Anabell Connell, a incredibly talented artist and painter. Réaul collaborated with Anabell to create the cover artwork for the latest single "On Top Of The World". She did a fantastic job and the artwork is truly amazing! Check out her Facebook artist page to see more of her work.


Anabell is an artist that lives in Indianapolis with her husband, son, and big red puppy. She rediscovered her childhood passion of painting as an adult and hasn't stopped creating since.  Inspired by such artists as Gustav Klimt and Van Gough, she has developed whimsical style that is truly unique and in demand. She has completed numerous commissions and custom paintings.

If you are interested in her work, she is available for custom paintings and commissions. Contact her via her FB page. Click on the button below to learn more about Anabell and see more of her artwork.

2014 Rock-it to a Cure Concert

Réaul, Peter Bradley Adams, and Jon McLaughlin come together in Indianapolis at this year's Rock it to a Cure concert. It will be a night to remember and one you will not want to miss.

The first Rock it to a Cure concert was held in the fall of 2010. The concert garnered state-wide attention pushing it to do a second concert in the fall of 2011. This was the biggest event yet, held at Old National Centre's Egyptian Room with over 1,000 fans in attendance. The 2013 event has been highly anticpated and is expected to sell completely out.

Tickets are on sale. Keep posted on Facebook, Twitter, and out website for details as they become available. Gives "Casino Heart" 2 Tumbs Up!

More often than not, your first impression of a band comes from the radio, your friend's MP3 player, or some other predetermined source that delivers the songs to you in their carefully polished, studio recorded form.  Of course the exception to this would be that occasional band that delivers your initial encounter live from the stage.  If they can win you over in this forum, you're undoubtedly going home with the album and all those studio gems they spent countless hours crafting and perfecting.  Moral of the story: You can hide behind the editing of the studio, but the stage doesn't lie.

My introduction to Reaul came from the stage on the Joliet stop of Black Stone Cherry's recent tour. The Indianapolis based band was tabbed to tour the land with them, and as far as opening acts go, the fit was spot on.  The openers always have the hardest work to do at a show, but Reaul was up to the task and handily set the tone and electrified the room with the tunes off of their 'Casino Heart' EP.  What I have found as I've delved deeper into the Reaul world is this: whether by MP3 or by stage, the energy level from the band is pouring out of every song.

'Casino Heart' doesn't stand still for a second, at every turn guitars and vocals are soaring as drummer Nate Metzler slams through the tracks.  Opening the EP is the fast paced 'Second String Lover', a track that does it's best to win you over musically and through lead singer Rick Connell's declaration that "We could be more than friends!" as he begrudgingly makes his case that he's tired of being the backup.  Keeping with this feeling of desperation and urgency, the next track "Circle City Lights (Drive)",  flys along like you're whipping past street lights on the highway at 100 MPH.  Thanks to its clean guitar and slick vocal effects, I found myself looping back around to it for a few more laps every time I listened to the album

"My Casino Heart" finds the tempo of the previous two songs, but also features some nice pace changes that give it a little different stance thanks to Dave Kriebel's confident guitar and the driving bass line of Michael Neeley.  This same attitude and feel is found on "Chasing Daylight" which falls perfectly in the track order as the two songs could easily blend together.  "Forever Starts Tonight" comes off as an ironic title since it marks the finish line of the quick "Casino Heart" journey.  It wraps up the EP on a familiar note as it's hard to miss the influence of Fall Out Boy on the track thanks to the strong, soaring vocals.  

'Casino Heart' is only five tracks and doesn't even quite make it all the way to the 18 minute mark, but the brevity is irrelevant given how catchy these finely tuned songs are.  In my book, as great as the album is, it's even more impressive how phenomenal these songs and Reaul sounded live.  Hell, if it was enough for the opening act to get the whole room bouncing, how wrong could I be?

Creating good music is only a part of Reaul's mission as they make their name in the music world. They are also supporters and advocates of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). To find out more about the cause and what they're doing to help, CLICK HERE

To read the original article please go to:

My Casino Heart Goes To #1

"My Casino Heart," the title track off the Casino Heart album has hit #1 on the Top 25 Indie Charts for the week of August 1st. "We got a phone call from our manager while traveling to the first show of the Black Stone Cherry tour to tell us we had a #1 song in the Top 25 Indie Charts," Rick laughs. "We didn't even know!"

Reaul has continued to tour since the release of the album, spurring new radio play and a continually growing fanbase. "It feels really good to know that our music is resonating with people. It makes every late night and lack of sleep worth it," says Michael.

Music Taster's Choice Reviews Cavo and Réaul

Here is what Scott Rowe of Music Taster's Choice had to say about Réaul's supporting performance at Cavo's "Thick As Thieves" CD release party in St. Louis at Cicero's.

"The up and coming Réaul, a band based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, made their St. Louis debut by opening for CAVO.  Reaul sound is complimentary to CAVO's with heavy guitars and catchy vocals.  This band broke out the good stuff right from the get go by covering U2's "Vertigo". Réaul demonstrated their flexibility and songwriting abilities as frontman Rick Connell and guitarist Dave Kriebel took center stage and wooed a packed Cicero's with the song "Moving On". The band rocked it's hardest with the pedal to the metal rocker "Circle City Lights".  Réaul is currently supporting CAVO on tour while finding time to return home to play some local shows. You can find more on Réaul at their website."

To see the accompanying photos by Duane Clawson please read the entire review at:


Wow, where did this year go? I cannot believe this is my final post for 2011. I must say that we covered many talented musicians this year and I feel so blessed to be able to share this music to my readers all over the world. We do not know what 2012 will bring but for me it continues to expose bands like my guest today, Reaul. I am still not sure how to pronounce their name Reaul, but the music is top notch. They remind me of Fall Out Boy before the fame, money, & egos took over. Join us as we take shots of Bushmills and wash them down with Pabst while listening to "My Casino Heart." The guys talk about everything from 2012 plans, how to say Reaul, being from Indianapolis, and much more. Happy New Year!

Stoli: Where are we talking from today and are you excited for a new year in 2012?

Réaul - Rick: "Today we are home in Indianapolis getting some much needed rest. We are very excited for the new year, especially since 2011 has been one of the best years so far for Réaul. We've seen more happen in the last 6 months than ever before. We're on a roll and we don't plan on stopping! 2012 will be another breakout year for us. We are planning to release a new album entitled "Black Lines and White Lies"  as well as a national tour starting in the Spring."

Stoli: How did you four get together and start the band called Réaul?

Réaul - Michael: "Rick and I met in a little town just north of Indianapolis at a gig about 6 years ago. We found that we had musical chemistry and started gigging together on a regular basis. It progressed into us deciding to start a new band. We held auditions and brought on Nate (drummer) and about 6 months later Dave (Lead Guitar). It took a little bit for all our musical styles to meld into what you hear now, which we believe is a unique sound."

Stoli: How did the word, Réaul, describe the music you were making?

Réaul - Rick:  "Well, Réaul, which is pronounced "Ray-all" came from one of my dreams. We had been going over band names for weeks trying to find something that truly described us and then one night I had a very interesting dream in which I had a child named "Réaul." It was so unique that I remembered it when I woke up. I actually got up and went into the studio and wrote it down. I brought it up to the band mates a couple days later and we all felt that it was the name we were looking for. It described us perfectly. Unique, different, refreshing."

Stoli: Are you guys friends outside the band or is this all about the music and what do you do for fun?

Réaul - Nate: "You'd be surprised to know how many times we get asked this. Both from fans and the press. Yes, we are definitely all friends outside of the band. Even though we all grew up in different parts of the country we are like brothers. We genuinely like being with each other. We couldn't make the music we do if it was any other way. We have known a decent amount of other bands that just plain don't like each other. They play great together, but once they step off the stage they could care less about the other people in the group. Usually those bands end up breaking up. None of us in Réaul want to be that way so we make it a point to look out for each other."

Stoli: I really enjoyed your EP. When did you write "Second String Lover" and what is that track about?

Réaul - Rick: "Second String Lover was written over the course of about 2 months in mid-2010. The idea for the song came when I was driving somewhere. I get a lot of my song ideas in the car. I was thinking back on a relationship I had back in high-school. I really liked this girl. She knew how I felt about her and had a way of stringing me along. I think she liked the attention. I wanted more with her but somehow I could never get out of the friend zone. I remember clearly how it felt. It was like I was on the team and at the game but always sitting on the bench. I was second string football player in her game."

Stoli: How does it feel when fans compare you to Nickelback and OneRepublic and does that add pressure to make hits?

Réaul - Dave: "It adds pressure, but it is definitely a "good" pressure. It forces us to constantly push the envelope of both our music and lyrics. It pushes us to make the songs the best they can be. No lazy, half-baked songs here. Most of our songs go through 15 or more rewrites before we feel it's ready to record.  If we all feel a song is not a hit we won't record it.. That's why some of our songs never see daylight. I think we get compared to OneRepublic, Anberlin, and The Fray a lot because we strive like they do to put out great music every time, all the time."

Stoli: The video for "My Casino Heart" is getting lots of views. What was the concept behind that video and how important is a solid video in the age of Youtube & Vimeo?

Réaul - Nate: "We wanted the concept behind the My Casino Heart video to go along with the lyrics. Fast cars, fast money, and fast women.We didn't want just some random video shots of the band that had nothing to do with the song. We wanted people to feel the passion and not just hear it. And that's what we tried to portray in the music video. The guy thinks he has it made and in the end gets left with nothing."

Réaul - Michael:  "A solid music video in today's day and age is extremely important. To be able to put a 'face with a name,' so to speak, let's our fans see what they lyrics of the song are all about. It gives the world a unique insight into Réaul and our creative processes. MTV might not show music videos anymore, but fans still like seeing them. As a fan, it brings you that much closer to the artist. Especially, when you haven't had a chance to see the artist live in concert."

Stoli: I "Like" you on Facebook. How does it feel to be able to hear direct from your fans and interact with them like never before?

Réaul - Rick: "Facebook has changed everyones' lives forever, whether you're on it or not. Facebook and Twitter get's us into the lives of our fans and we love it. We are only a click away from every fan that we have. They get to interact with us on a much more personal level. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. We post news and what is going on with the band, but we also just post random things sometimes that are going on in our personal lives. Our fans love that. They get to be part of the journey with us. We're all looking for deeper relationships and connections and Facebook and Twitter allow us to do that better."

Stoli: You guys are involved with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Why is that cause important to you and how can we help out as well?

Réaul - Nate: "The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has become near and dear to us because of one special kid named Ian. I used to give drum lessons to Ian and during one of our weekly sessions, he mentioned that he had Type-1 Diabetes. He explained to me how difficult life was with the disease and that he would die without injecting insulin every couple hours. The band found a missing piece of their heart that night. Since then, we have been trying to give back as much as possible to help find a cure. We recently headlined the second annual Rock It To A Cure at Old National Centre here in Indy. It was a great turnout and a lot of people were educated about what Type-1 Diabetes really is."

The best way to help out is to give your time and money to help bring awareness of the disease. Get involved in your local state's JDRF Walk to a Cure. All 50 states have at least one. Most states have about 4 or 5 in different cities. It's a great way to meet new people and help out a great organization that's making a difference in families' lives."

Stoli: Being from Indianapolis where can we come see you live and what are some cool music venues?

Réaul - Dave: "Indianapolis has about 4 major venues that artists normally play. The Verizon Wireless Music Center and Old National Centre (formally the Murat). We have performed at both these venues multiple times this year as well as crisscrossing the U.S. on previous tours that included some iconic venues. We will be touring in the Spring across the U.S. in most of the major cities. We haven't announced any dates and who we're touring with yet, so you will have to stay tuned for those details."

Stoli: Do you hold hope for the USA in 2012 as we slowly recover from this recession and massive layoffs?

Réaul - Rick: "We definitely hold hope for 2012. The economy will come back around eventually. Even if it is 10 years from now. All we can really do is just keep trying to make great music that inspires people to get up off the ground and try again. We have had to do that many times in our own career as a band. It doesn't feel very good when you fall, but when you get back up, you have usually learned something valuable and are better off because of it."

Stoli: What is coming up for Réaul and where can we follow you online & buy the EP?

Réaul - Michael:  "We will be in the studio recording the new album due out in the Spring of 2012. I always like when we get back into recording season. Long sessions creating music and drinking tons of coffee. Mmmm! I can almost taste it now. We will be on a national tour shortly after the new album drops so make sure you don't miss when we are in your city. You can buy any of our music on iTunes or Amazon. To stay up to date on what's going on with us you can find us on Facebook at, our website,, and"

To read the original interview on Skope Magazine please follow this link:

SantaSlam Was A Huge Hit for Réaul

This year's SantaSlam proved to be a huge hit for Réaul. Performing with Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato is one of the band's hi-lites this year. The fans started lining up at 8 AM in the morning eventually wrapping the Old National Center marquee. When the doors opened at 5:30 PM it was a mad rush of 2,000 people to the stage. Simply amazing!

Réaul opened SantaSlam 2011 with their chart climbing hit, "Second String Lover" with a large part of the crowd singing along. Paying tribute to their hometown of Indianapolis the band followed up with "Circle City Lights." They surprised the fans with two brand new songs, "The Last Goodnight" and "Lie to Me" and capped the night with "My Casino Heart."

The band came out at the end of the show to meet with fans and spent over 2 hours taking photos and signing autographs. "We took so many pictures and signed so many autographs that I thought my hand was going to fall off," laughs Rick. "It was awesome!"

To catch up with what the band is doing next make sure you follow them on Twitter and Like them of Facebook.

New Album "Casino Heart" Out Today!

Reaul, the Pop Rock quartet, makes its latest installment into its discography with "Casino Heart" Today!

From its deep provocative lyrics to its thick bed of guitars, "Casino Heart" marks a divergence for Reaul, making this one of the band's biggest, most edgy work to date. Still true to its Top 40 Pop Rock roots, song to song is an artwork that is a remarkable sequence of catchy melodies that will stick in your head and not let go. It's no wonder these soon-to-be radio stars are one of Indy's favorites.

Make sure you pick up a copy on iTunes or Amazon today!