On Feb. 13, Harry Manx starts touring in support of his 11th recording. Until Feb. 12, though, you can listen to an exclusive stream of that new record, Om Suite Ohm, by clicking the player below.
STREAMClick play to listen to Harry Manx's Om Suite Ohm and keep reading, or click here to go to the track listing.
For six days before his Canadian tour begins, Manx will be sitting alone in his camper, driving across the country from his home on the West Coast to get to his first gig in Waterloo, Ont. During those six days, Manx will be listening to his brand new disc, Om Suite Ohm.
Isn’t that a psychologically dangerous thing to do, I ask Manx, who is on the phone from somewhere in the middle of Manitoba. “Probably,” he says with a laugh. “I try not to be my own critic. That gets in the way of the creative process. I try to let things come out and direct them so they sound good for everybody. But once a CD is made, it’s a done deal. There’s no going back.”
Listening to Om Suite Ohm while on his way to start the tour is also a way for Manx to reacquaint himself with material that is still very new.
“It’s a funny thing,” Manx explains. “I’m not sure if I do this backwards but, I write songs for a CD, and then later I learn to play them and groove with them live. Some people, I’ve heard, take songs out on the road for a few years, get them really cookin’, and then record them. That would probably be a good idea.”
Manx has been cultivating his musical roots for more than 30 years. Much of that time has been spent immersed in Eastern culture under the guidance of mentors like slide guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in India. With Om Suite Ohm, however, Manx seems to be expanding his global influences. “Further Shore,” for example, sings of Spain with an overriding African melody, while “Way Out Back” is clearly drawn from countless tours in Australia.
I suggest that, from track to track, the disc doesn’t sit in one place on the planet. Once again with a laugh, Manx responds, “finally I have arrived at world music. Can you please tell somebody I’m a world musician? These people have these world music conferences and, it’s funny, if you’re from North America you’re not really world music.”
Despite his little jab at the music industry’s need to pigeonhole, Manx is an artist who happily professes to always have one foot in the blues door. From India to jazz to Africa, it doesn’t seem to matter where the other foot may go. His intricate compositions, virtuosic playing and natural ability to blend genres have allowed Manx to carve out a place for himself in music that always feels like Om Suite Ohm.
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