|Harry Manx can best be described as world-fold singer. His 2001 release, "Dog My Cat" introduced many folks
to Manx's primary musical instrument, the Mohan Veena, which is basically an acoustic guitar with an extra set
of strings that produces a sitar-like sound when plucked. Manx studied the instrument in India, taking lessons
from its creator, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. The only other Westerner who ever played and owned a mohan veena was the
late George Harrison. After a quarter of a century living in Japan, India and Europe, Manx returned to North America
and set about producing his own style of music. While Manx's voice is well-suited for the musical styles of blues
and folk, he uses the mohan veena to put his signature-stamp on his work.
In addition to the Mohan Veena, Manx incorporates banjo, slide guitar and harmonica into the music on his latest release, "Wise and Otherwise". This new CD finds Manx being a bit more playful than on "Dog My Cat". Manx lovingly reworks several cover songs, including the Jimi Hendrix classic "Foxy Lady" and a beautiful version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love". Elsewhere there are Manx originals such as "Make you Wanna Die Laughing," "Coat of Mail" and "Don't Forget to Miss Me". That last tune is quite possibly the best one on the album, and the melody will stick in your head long after you've heard it. There are also a couple of times on "Wise and Otherwise" where Manx spotlights the Mohan Veena, letting its Middle Eastern-tinged sound issue forth at the beginning of "The Gist of Madhuvanti/The Thrill is Gone" and on "Raga Nat Bhariav". The resutling music is hauntingly beautful. With this latest addition to his catalogue Manx has produced a new take on the folk/blues sound that is as exotic as it is accessible. (B+)
"The only other Westerner who ever played and owned a mohan veena was the late George Harrison."