Harry Manx

With each album Manx releases, his deep Indo-Canadian roots music becomes more defined and further accomplished. The title West Eats Meet is a play on Ravi Shankar's "West Eats Meat,” a nod both to an Indian musical giant and Manx's own western usage of Indian instruments, folk melodies and styles. Manx strays a bit from his standard blues idiom with this album and introduces gospel flavours with the help of backing singers Emily Braden and Australian trio the Heavenly Lights. The latter add depth and a churchy soul to "The Great Unknown" and, along with Manx's banjo, "Sitting on Top of the World" becomes a down from the mountain call to worship out of an as yet undiscovered Baptist/Hindu hymnal. One of two covers on the album, Sonny Boy Williamson's "Help Me" features an under pad of delicate drones and a slinky slide solo injecting a little Rajasthan into this Chicago standard. Manx's instrumentals are always ingenious takes on sitar-like phrasing, note bending and melodies and the two offered here — "Forgive and Remember" and "Hectors Song" don't disappoint. Where early records like Dog My Cat and Wise and Otherwise often separated the blues material from the Indian-influenced material, West Eats Meet makes an effort to merge them on nearly every song. Tabla and Dholak add basic but fundamental percussion, complimenting Manx's steady backbeat accent on his guitar strings, and not only does he play his Mohan Veena and tambura on many tracks, he even sings in a raga style on "The Ways of Love." This is the album's greatest strength as it highlights what really makes Manx a unique artist. Very few people are making this sort of world folk blues fusion and if Harry Manx continues steeping this melting pot, the world will have to take notice of this innovator soon.