Bob Bradshaw
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Bob Bradshaw

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Music

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Reviews of Bag Of Knives: from “Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange” reviewer, Mark S. Tucker: “Whoa, now here's a discovery! This is dyed-in-the-wool folk music and then some. Every song is stripped down to allow the full emotional content through, Bob Bradshaw singing in world-weary wistful tones and playing guitar while Chad Manning rasps a mournful fiddle and twangs his mandolin in an airy threnody of urban pangs and pains. The two go together like hound dog and hobo, neither missing a trick in the human experience while tramping the byways and highways, forever heading towards a forlorn setting sun. Bradshaw is an attendee of Boston's Berklee School of Music while Manning has recorded and toured with David Grisman but also sat in with the likes of J.D. Crowe and Tony Trischka. Darol Anger has commented very favorably on his plaintive skills, calling him "one of the most expressive" of the new fiddlers. Together, the two lads produce some of the best folkie sounds since the 60s and 70s, understanding the mode marrow deep. You couldn't find a better time machine than Bag of Knives. One of the many great aspects of this disc is the fact that it hangs together like a piece of architecture, every cut supporting its brothers and sisters, a quiet symphony of ghostly and evanescent airs from the old days gently passing through to tomorrow. Cruel Recipe is vaguely Randy Newman-ish, circa Sail Away, but these guys owe nothing to anyone, creating a sound with clear antecedents while thieving nothing, thus reinvigorating—if that's the correct verb for such a laconic collection (save for From the 2-Step to the 12-Step Once Again, a spritely number)—the esteemed mode in the beginning of the 21st century. This is one Bag of Knives that lands softly on the ear.”

Minor 7th.com, David Kleiner: "Throughout, the lyrics are as carefully chosen as every note on this elegant album. (The lack of a lyric insert is unforgivable!) Downtempo tunes dominate and sadness lingers. But there's more than enough beauty and inventiveness to lift the coldest heart. The waltz-able refrain ("Dance with me") of "Desert Waltz" -- the tale of a soldier's deployment and return -- brims with longing effectively mirrored by Manning's playing. "Please" features the wish-I'd-written "snug as a gun" (by way of Seamus Heaney?) and "the shock that shook me speechless." "Another Day in the Life" overlays detail on detail on top of insistent bass and fiddle as it moves toward its inevitable but still devastating conclusion. "From The 2-Step To The 12-Step Once Again," brings welcome humor while proving these guys know their way around a swing tune. This "Bag of Knives" is sharp: lovely, affecting, and original."
- Folk & Music Exchange; Minor 7th.com


Discography

Four albums: Resident Aliens, Some Assembly Required, Enjoy Your Confusion and Bag Of Knives

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Bio

Irish-born, Boston-based singer-wongwriter