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Reviews


-Mark A. Cole
Big City Blues
April/May, 2002


more reviews of Wise and Otherwise
 
Toronto resident Harry Manx is a multi-instrumentalist who is known for his work on the guitar, banjo,and harmonica. Manx was born on the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, andhe has worked for over two decades asa one-man touring band. Most recently he has studied in India and leanred how to play the twenty-string Mohan Veena. Harry's penchant for Near Eastern strings, traditional blues and folk, and his Celtic background combine on this set with a near-heavenly delight.

With covers from Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and songs of his own pen, Manx delivers an attractive, airy, and involved collection of tunes. In true islander style, Manx does it all himself playing the Mohan Veena, a six-string lap guitar, his banjo, with the harmonica, and all the vocal work too!

The lamenting "
Only Then Will Your House Be Blessed" opens with tender guitar and soft harp lines. The following "Death Have Mercy" comes across mysterious and cross-cultural with the veena as its only instrumentation. The deeply poetic lyricism of "Roses Given" has an equally reflective musical side. Like most of these tunes, a real emphasis has gone into a holistic approach without restraints. The intellectual combination of musical genres here somes with a seeming intuitiveness and aplomb. Like the melding medley of BB King and Eastern thought in "The Gist of Madhuvanti/Thrill is Gone", Manx illuminates an almost enlightened approach.

From the sympathetic social commentary of "
A Coat of Mail" or "A Little Cruel" to the upbeat loving and reminiscent "Don't Forget to Miss Me", Harry Manx takes his music to a higher personal level. The consummate musician has an intimate set delivered with class and elegance, and any real listener involvement is ultimately rewarding. For Manx this should be a hit, and for the listener it is a great deal; all around it is fantastically innovative acoustic material. Hit the spiritual high note on the closing "Raga Nat Bhariav", then replay!

Rated 4 'hats' out of 5.
 

"Like the melding medley of BB King and Eastern thought in "
The Gist of Madhuvanti/Thrill is Gone", Manx illuminates an almost enlightened approach."