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. Dog My Cat. —Andy Ellis
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