Harry Manx

Wise and Otherwise

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To call Harry Manx a wizard of slide guitar is perfectly true, but not the whole story. Add banjo, harmonica, and the Indian veena to that, and you're approaching the real story. On Wise and Otherwise he demonstrates the full range of his talents, which are firmly based in the blues, but extend far beyond -- all the way to Indian music, with his own "Raga Nat Bhariav," a short, but beautiful journey for the veena. As a writer he continues to improve by leaps and bounds, making songs like "Roses Given" fit well with his version of "Death Have Mercy" or his covers of "Crazy Love" and "Foxy Lady" (where his acoustic playing has all the intensity of an electric Hendrix). In some ways he mines similar territory to Kelly Joe Phelps, but by now Manx is assured enough in himself to have a remarkably distinctive sound that comes not from the Delta, but some mystic place beyond. "Coat of Mail," for example, is hardly a traditional blues, but its feeling runs somewhere deep, from some primal river. Amazingly, he even manages to make B.B. King's classic, "The Thrill Is Gone," into his own -- no mean feat. There are few performers like this around who can connect the dots between musical styles with such resonance and make themselves seem a part of them all.

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