Harry Manx album


(Dog My Cat)


manx-20-stringsHarry Manx works within such slender musical confines that for him to discard one of the few elements he had in play was a high-risk strategy. The Canadian folk-blues singer/guitarist mostly pens material of similar rhythm, tempo, mood (mellow) and texture (stark), over which comes his gruff, narrow-range singing. Yet here he dares to largely eliminate vocals in favour of a collection of instrumentals.

The exceptions are two covers, including a Summertime he has sped up and coloured with some Indian mysticism, courtesy of his 20-string Mohan veena. In fact this instrument takes over much of the music’s foreground in the absence of Manx’s voice, and worthily so. Often he has under-exploited its unique blend of blue notes from the Mississippi and the saffron-coloured, shimmering glissandi he borrows from Hindustani music. But then understatement is Manx’s raison d’etre, and any grandstanding would undermine his greatest asset which, as the title suggests, is an indisputable genuineness. Drums, tabla and Clayton Doley’s keyboards flesh out the sound.