HARRY MANX World traveler's songs put his spin on life, spirituality
The bluesman's experiences in India shape his perspective.
WARREN -- Harry Manx is a world traveler and his music confirms it.
However, instead of exotic locale stickers pasted on a trunk acting as his calling card of adventure, the singer/songwriter uses his acoustic guitar to detail his unique life experiences.
Among the many cultures Manx has called home around the world, India has had the most profound influence over not only his music but his mind. Sure, playing a 20-stringed sitar/guitar sounds different from most other blues-based artists but this Canadian performer offers fans a completely different perspective.
"I think it influences me all of the time," Manx said calling from Toronto. "I was in India for 12 years and at some point you arrive in India and you are a flaming materialist because you come from the West and that is your nature. Along the way, you see that everything is somewhat impermanent, including life. So, that definitely has impacted my views and as a result, I have my own version of a spiritual life going on that includes mediation and stuff like that. And that impacts the music. But I'm not all wings. I'm pretty much earthbound too so that's where the blues keeps me in the world."
Debut in 2001
At the age of 50, Manx is a late bloomer. His debut disc, "Dog My Cat," came in 2001 but he has made up for lost time, releasing a new studio disc every year since. This includes his latest disc "West Eats Meet," which is currently up for a Juno Award, Canadian's version of the Grammy Awards. Plus, he has another new album due out this summer.
Manx explains while he's a relative newcomer to the recording world and touring circuit, concert performance has been a part of his life since his teens, when he worked the soundboard at Toronto clubs for such legends as Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and others.
"I'm sort of a ready-made man but I waited to make any records because for a long time, I felt that I didn't have anything to say," Manx said. "But at some point, the cloud got real heavy and the rain came. That's the way it was. I couldn't do much about it except get out of the way and let the songs start pouring out of me."
Although Manx considers himself a Chicago-style blues player -- he performed at last year's Chicago Blues Festival -- there is little question that this singer/songwriter is different from most similar-minded performers. For blues enthusiasts heading out to Manx's upcoming Trumbull County show March 25 at the Hippodrome, it's important to keep an open mind.
"The way many people look at it is, I'm playing blues with an Eastern twist," Manx said. "But I'm not sure if I'm not playing Eastern music with a blues twist. It's up to them to figure that out."