Harry Manx
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Harry Manx


Band Blues Folk


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Some artists forge something entirely new simply by sheer force of their musical vision; Harry is one such, someone whose works make one reconsider and reassess one's tastes and preconceptions, even one's world view. Give "Wise And Otherwise" a listen, and my bet is you'll come out the other side a little bit more of the former. That's how good he is. Nothing short of a masterpiece. - John Taylor - Blues on Stage

"West Eats Meet Review"

Since his 2001 debut, Harry Manx has delivered consistently well-crafted albums linking Western blues with Eastern instrumentation. Sometimes he's on lap slide guitar, but just as often he performs on a 20-stringed instrument called the mohan veena that he learned during a long sojourn in India. He also plays banjo and other instruments, having lived in Europe, Japan, and South America before settling in Canada. Someone recently tagged his music "mysticissippi," and that's a dead-on description.
For his new album, Manx emphasizes the mystical a bit more than the Mississippi. Think a more exotic Kelly Joe Phelps, a less intentionally off-putting John Fahey, or a less quirky David Lindley and you have a loose perimeter for Manx's range on this 12-track, 44-minute release. He wrote all but two tracks--the Mississippi Sheiks' "Sitting On Top Of The World" and Sonny Boy Williamson's "Help Me" -- and he takes those familiar songs in directions they've never gone, despite hundreds of covers.
Manx's own songs are a bit less bluesy this time -- "Make Way For The Living" is reminiscent of Jackson Browne at his '70s peak -- but no less fascinating. Besides his own fluid voice, he's brought in Emily Braden and an Australian trio called The Heavenly Lights as backing vocalists. Their counterpoint adds subtle colour. If instrumental dexterity, richness in tone, and taste of material are your priorities, West Eats Meet should please you to no end.
-- Bill Wasserzieher - Blues Revue

"review of West Eats Meet"

On his first release on his own label, Harry Manx mixes gospel-inflected backing vocals with his unique blend of blues and Indian music to create a sound that suggests a happy meeting between the Dixie Hummingbirds, John Hammond, and Ravi Shankar. Throughout the album, Manx swings easily between the ethereal and the earthy. The tight background vocal harmonies of the Heavenly Lights add a funky element to the tabla-driven version of "Sittin' on Top of the World", which features Manx playing a superb duet with himself on Mohan veena, a multistring lap steel/sitar hybrid, and six-string banjo. The three vocalists backing Manx on his uplifting original "Make Way for the Living" give the piece a strong spiritual feel that reinforces its lyrical content. On this track and several others, Emily Braden's powerful vocal improvisations entwine beautifully with Manx's own husky vocals. The CD's two haunting instrumentals highlight his sinuous slide work on the Mohan Veena.
--Ron Forbes-Roberts - Acoustic Guitar - Sept 2004

"West Eats Meet Review"

At a Seattle concert in early May, Harry Manx insisted that he "wasn't always this mellow." His music, mellow as it is, is a testimony to that; most of the material on West Eats Meet, even warmer songs such as "The Great Unknown," have an undercurrent of darkness to them that adds considerable drive to his laid-back acoustic blues. Despite crossing over into what is, for the blues, highly unfamiliar musical territory -- Manx spent several years in India, under the tutelage of Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, who won a Grammy for his work with Ry Cooder -- the tension between the darkness and light, myth and the everyday that is the hallmark of good blues is present througout his work. Manx's incorporation of Indian ragas highlights this quality and expands the mythical dimension of his songwriting, especially on "The Ways of Love" and "Make Way for the Living." The lyrics are a pleasure all by themselves, literate --listen for the Hamlet reference in "Stir A Little Breeze" -- and replete with vivid imagery. The music is at once spontaneous and intricate; Manx isn't afraid to keep things simple, and often hints at complexity rather than making things needlessly complicated. The fusion of diverse musical styles isn't gratuitous or forced, either; as with Manx's previous recordings, it sounds and feels like a natural progression whose time has come.
--Genevieve Williams - Dirty Linen Magazine

"West Eats Meet ****"

Harry Manx is a riveting solo performer, as we know from his appearances at the Ottawa folk and blues festivals, but his music absolutely glows with the help of a few well-chosen musicians on his fifth CD, West Eats Meet (yes you read it right). The Saltspring Island resident continues to shrink the distance between Delta blues and Indian ragas on this gorgeous, low-key collection of songs that are enhanced by the contributions of singer Emily Braden and Australian vocal trio the Heavenly Lights, as well as tabla by Niel Golden and keyboards by recording engineer Wynn Gogol.
The combination of Manx's steamy baritone and the rich backgrund vocals turns songs like Make Way for the Living, Shadow of the Whip and The Great Unknown -- all Manx originals -- into inspiring gospel anthems that will make you close your eyes, face the heavens and lose yourself in the sheer delight of the music and the clarity of his words.
There's another religious experience to be found within the mystical sound of the mohan veena, a 20-string sitar-like instrument that Manx pretty much mastered during his 12 years in India. It's become his signature instrument and he uses it liberally to spice up the songs, adding an exotic flavour to an upbeat version of Sitting on Top of the World and letting it shimmer in a couple of instrumental compositions.
Other highlights include a bluesy version of Help Me, a world-weary Something of Your Grace, and the hypnotic rhythm of That Knowing Look of Fate.
-- Lynn Saxberg - Ottawa Citizen

"Critics are saying..."

"Top drawer music that is capable of soothing body, mind & soul." – Billy Hutchinson, Blues Matters

"It's a mystery why he's not hailed as much more of a guitar god beyond the cult. Maybe all that's missing is you. Really, if you don't enjoy it, you might as well be deaf."
– Midwest Record Recap

"These Mantras are as magical as any Manx has released. Truly unique, multicultural folk music." –Vish Khanna, Exclaim!

"A joyous next step in the evolution of Manx's recordings."
–BJ Huchtemann, The Reader

"A clever, adventurous songwriter with much to say."
–Jeff Johnson, Chicago Sun-Times

"Manx conjures songs that are as bewitching as they are unique."
–Andy Ellis, Guitar Player

"When a disc gets under your skin so quickly, staying power is a given!"
–Bernie Perusse – The Gazette

"Every note of Harry Manx's music is a rich, soulful breath of fresh air."
–Beth Marlis, Guitar Institute of Technology

"Harry Manx, a master of the lap-slide guitar ... is assuredly Canada's most versatile and expressive blues player.
–Larry LeBlanc, Billboard Magazine
- various

"Mantras for Madmen Review"

Listen to Harry Manx play and you get the feeling that he’s built a whole career on a single, droning chord. His Blues is ethereal, meditative, often dissonant, and rarely boring. In its own measure way, Manx’s music is more informed by Indian ragas than the standard 12-bar form, but Blues it is, at least in intent. When you’re in “the Manx zone”, you don’t mind that Manx is a modern Bluesman with his ear attuned to a different vibe and a soul that answers to a different master. Over the past six years he’s created a body of deceptively simple acoustic music that lodges in one’s memory the way a spark nestles into a pile of dry leaves. The Mohan Veena lends Manx his singular sound. Invented and built by Bhatt, it’s a complex instrument that resembles an archtop guitar with 20 strings. Played in the fashion of a traditional lap steel guitar, the Mohan Veena sounds more like a sitar than anything else.
Manx' newest release, Mantras for Madmen, finds perfect symmetry between his Alt-Folk, Indian ragas, and Blues theology. But the tonal complexion of the CD is richer than its subtlety might suggest. Dissect, for instance "Your Sweet Name." It's built on a rhythm base of tablas, with sitar-like flourishes. It rocks gently on an insistent groove common to Alt-Folk. And when the guitar solo comes, it's phrased in riffs wrought from picking techniques that could have come from Bill Monroe's songbook. Is it Blues? Yes, but of a different stripe.

- Dave Good, July 2006
- FolkWax, (Internet Publication)

"Mantras for Madmen: ***1/2 stars"

Canadian folk-blues artist Harry Manx spent more than a decade learning Eastern music firsthand in India. His work on lap-steel guitar and the Mohan Veena, a guitar-sitar hybrid, somehow simultaneously reverberates with the sounds of the Delta and Bombay. (He playfully acknowledged these unusual cross-cultural influences with a past album title, "West Eats Meet.")
For "Mantras for Madmen," his sixth album in as many years, Manx bares his gentle soul with 10 sensitive, perceptive originals, plus fine cover versions of Robbie Robertson's "It Makes No Difference" and J.J. Cale's "San Diego-Tijuana."
While "Mantras" contains more ballads than his past discs, it still reflects Manx's evolution as a clever, adventurous songwriter with much to say. And "Don't Take His Name Away" is a rare statement on the dignity of life.

- Jeff Johnson, Nov 2005
- Chicago Sun-Times

"Mantras for Madmen Review"

While most musicians are content to work within the accepted boundaries of their chosen style, lap-slide guitarist Harry Manx likes to color way outside the lines. His crayons? Soulful, raspy vocals, poetic lyrics, and the whining drones and mysterious melisma of Indian music. In addition to picking Hawaiian-style flat-top à la David Lindley, Ben Harper, or Kelly Joe Phelps, Manx plays the mohan veena - a 20-string archtop developed by Indian slide wizard Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. East/West fusions can sometimes sound forced or awkward, but Manx - who studied with Bhatt for five years - dodges that bullet. On Mantras for Madmen, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, tamboura, tabla, and haunting female voices swirl seamlessly around intricate slide melodies, creating an exotic, yet strangely timeless sound. Drawing from blues, ragas, and the story-telling heritage of British Isles folk music, Manx conjures songs that are as bewitching as they are unique.

- Andy Ellis, January 2006
- Guitar Player Magazine (online edition)

"A Seamless Match"

“Harry Manx has been working on his personal mix of blues and Indian music for some time now, and he's reached a virtually seamless match with this release, Mantras for Madmen -- as well as climbing to a new plateau in his songwriting. There's a soulful tinge to pieces like "It Makes No Difference" and "Never the Twain" that fills out his music, and he gets and holds a groove as laid-back as J.J. Cale. The only overtly Eastern pieces on the disc are "Afghani Raga," a short dip in the water, and the solo "Talkin Turban," but you can hear it in the Mohan Veena (a resonant Indian slide guitar) of "San Diego / Tijuana," where India meets Mexico, or "Your Sweet Name." Manx's voice seems to have taken on a new maturity, too, clearly evident on the duet "It Takes a Tear," which verges into gospel. This is, without a doubt, among his best.”

Chris Nickson, November 2005
- All Music Guide, amazon.ca


Bread and Buddha (2009)
Harry Manx & Friends - Live at the Glenn Gould Studio (2008)
In Good We Trust (2007)
Mantras for Madmen (2005)
West Eats Meet (2004)
Road Ragas (2003)
Jubilee (2003)
Wise and Otherwise (2002)
Dog My Cat (2001)



Harry Manx has been called an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. He has created a completely unique sound that is deliciously addictive to listen to.

Born on the Isle of Man, Manx spent his childhood in Canada and left in his teens to live in Europe, Japan, India and Brazil. He honed his hypnotic live show on street corners, in cafes, bars and at festivals.

But it was Indian music that captured Manx and in the mid 80's he began a five-year tutelage with Rajasthani Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Grammy winner with Ry Cooder for A Meeting by the River). He also received the gift of Bhatt’s custom-made, self-designed Mohan Veena—a 20-stringed sitar/guitar—that was the catalyst for Harry to forge a new path with his now signature east-meets-west style of music. Playing the Mohan Veena, lap steel, harmonica and banjo, Manx quickly envelops the audience into what has been dubbed “the Harry Zone” with his warm vocals the hauntingly beautiful melodies of his original songs. and classical ragas that are thrown into the mix.

His ninth release, "Bread and Buddha" is a tasty melange of blues, roots, world and folk sounds. Two years in the making, it uses full instrumentation including piano, organ, drums, base, and scored strings. The CD is a poignant exploration of the ephemeral nature of the human experience.