Sunday, October 28, 2012

In review--Welcome to Island Manx

Harry Manx
Isle of Manx
The Desert Island Collection
Dog My Cat Records/World Village

I had the pleasure of meeting Harry Manx at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 2003.  And Manx introduced me to the music of Pandit Mohan Vishwa Bhatt (inventor of Indian slide-guitar), while also reacquainting me with American blues.  Manx created his own sound that combines the spiritual sounds of India with earthy blues.  But more than that, Manx is a born-storyteller, traveler, and a Canadian bluesman.  I allowed too many years to pass by, before revisiting Manx’s songs and then Isle of Manx (a best of album) arrived in my post office box.

My favorites, Coat of Mail, Don’t Forget to Miss Me, Bring that Thing, and Lay Down My Worries appear here, along side songs I’m hearing for the first time.  Indian slide guitar, warm acoustic guitar, and American slide guitar frame Manx’s folk-blues vocals.  Sadly, musician credits don’t appear in the liner notes so the men’s gospel singers that appear on A Single Spark and The Great Unknown or the fiery woman vocalist that lends her vocals to Make Way for the Living, remain a mystery.

Isle of Manx hit the spot last night as rain pelted the window and I felt cozy tucked away in my warm apartment.  Manx provides us with mood music and there’s something here to satisfy every mood from self-empowering (I’m Sitting on Top of the World), to regret (Coat of Mail), to meditative (True to Yourself), romance (Don't Forget to Miss Me) and to relationship quirks (Bring that Thing). If Bob Dylan had traveled to India and studied with a musical master, he’d probably sound a lot like Harry Manx.  But as it is, Manx’s unique songs should please just about anyone stuck in traffic of life or stranded on a desert island of their dreams.

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