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The Rock-itt : July 2012
Harry Manx has been dubbed 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. His unique sound is bewitching and 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 his attention and in the mid 80's he began a five-year tutelage with Rajasthani Indian musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and surged Harry on the path to his now signature east-meets-west style of music. Harry Manx returns to his devoted fans in Australia with his musical short stories that wed the tradition of the Blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas, creating what has been called 'the essential link between east and west'. Harry's unique sound is hard to forget and deliciously mesmeric. Manx is a prolific artist, releasing 11 albums in 10 years, this tim e arrives with his new Isle of Manx, the Desert island Collection of top favorites. His first album Dog My Cat (2001, NorthernBlues Music) captured the attention of new fans, musical peers and media with favorable reviews and awards, including Best Blues Album of the Year from the Canadian Independent Music Association. The Juno- nominated follow-up Wise and Otherwise (2002) garnered further enthusiastic reviews from the worldwide media and the growing fan base. Jubilee (2003), Harry's collaboration with famed Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit (Norah Jones), has become a critical favourite, and confirmed Harry's innovative credentials in Canada's Blues scene. The live performance compilation CD Road Ragas (2003), captured the essence of his mesm erizing solo shows and cemented a solid reputation for this artist amongst fans and musical peers. Harry Manx's much-anticipated fifth album W est Eats Meet (2004) signaled the launch of his independent label Dog My Cat Records. Produced by Jordy Sharp (Dog My Cat, W ise and Otherwise, Road Ragas) Harry's serene solo sound is enhanced with decorative elements of tabla, dholak, keys and backing vocals. Its release generated his third Juno nomination, this time in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year (Solo) category. His solo CD Mantras for Madmen (2005), is blindingly unapologetic when it comes to even greater instrumentation. The groove level is kicked up a notch with the addition of bass, drums, and gospel-laden backing vocals with killer harmonies that enrich the ten original tunes. Indian instruments for the two ragas are also thrown into the mix. His 2007 collaboration with guitarist Kevin Breit, In God We Trust, was also nominated for almost a dozen major awards throughout Canada. This year Harry was awarded 'CD of the Year' by CKUA radio in Canada, nominated for 'Blues Artist of the Year', 'Songwriter of the Year,' and 'CD of the Year' from the Maple Blues Awards. The Independent Music Awards nominated Kevin Breit and Harry for 'Duo of the Year'. 2011 Was spent touring and recording with American folk legend Richie Havens, plus touring in a duo with David Lindley (Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills & Nash), and recording Stricktly Whatever with Kevin Briet (ex Nora Jones, now with Hugh Laurie). 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 80s he began his 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.â€̈ A successful touring performer, Manx has brought his "breathtaking" solo shows across Canada, into the USA, Australia, France, Singapore and Spain. He has appeared at top festivals, theatres, concert halls and infamous Blues clubs around the globe. 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 and the hauntingly beautiful melodies. "The live performances have become the most exciting part of the music business for me," Harry says. "And it's not only the playing; it's all the other magic that happens between m yself and the audience. My goal has always been to draw the audience as deep as possible into the music."â€̈Blending Indian folk melodies with blues, a sprinkle of gospel, and compelling grooves, Manx's "mysticssippi" flavour is hard to resist, easy to digest and keeps audiences coming back for more. S Sunday 8th July "A first rank songwriter" - Don Walker (Cold Chisel) You've probably seen her out there, busking on a street corner, dandelions in her hair. The coins in her case might buy a train ticket home or a down payment on bigger things: a better guitar, time to write another song; one chance in a million to soar above the static and catch the ear of the world. "She's not me," says Harmony James of the hopeful busker in "Emmylou's Guitar" - although you may glimpse her past between the lines: a teenage girl strapping on her guitar outside Woolworths in Cairns, a notebook of scribbled lyrics at her feet and a big sister quietly egging her on. This captivating grey area between a killer song and an extraordinary life is the essence of HANDFULS OF SKY, Harmony's debut album for Warner Music. Part of that life is already public. TAILWIND, her independent debut of '09, was surrounded by a slew of accolades: breakthrough awards from VCMA and APRA, Golden Guitar nominations for Best Female Artist and Best Album, eight Top Ten songs on the National Country Music Charts and first prize (for the title track) in the country division of Nashville's International Song writing Competition. But Harmony's remarkable back story as a church-born, outback-bred voice comes into its own with HANDFULS OF SKY. From the wry brimstone ramble of "Fires of Hell" to the rural panorama of "Hauling Cane" to the resolute emotional backbone of "Pride" - her ninth Top 10 single, and her third #1 - it's an album of arrival after a long, quietly confident journey. "I see HANDFULS OF SKY as a record of emergence from one period of my life to the next, " Harmony says. "I feel like I'm displaying a lot. There are a lot of tracks which are basically me in a nutshell, though I don't know how many people will recognise that." Give or take a busker here or an outback oil driller there, chances are theyâ€TMll be too busy recognising themselves or someone they know among the soaring choruses and familiar scenarios. HANDFULS OF SKY was produced at Sydney's Ramrod Studios by the legendary Herm Kovac - "my champion from the start, almost a mentor," says Harmony - and a stellar gang including Tim Crouch, Troy Cassar-Daley, Glen Hannah, the McClymonts, Mark Punch and Bill Chambers. "I can't wait to see what people make of it," Harmony says "to see where it takes them. Sometimes I think 'Geez, Harms, you're being a bit too honest for your own good here'. Then I think, ' No, it's art. You don't know which parts are true and which parts are just good stories." Show ticket only with a-la-carte menu available $28.00 Show only with bar menu available $28.00