On Jesse Manley’s follow-up to 2011’s “Devil’s Red,” we find more of the same — which is a good thing! Manley’s music is cemented knee deep in folk traditions, but adds just enough subtle updating to make it contemporary. On “A Path through the Dark,” which will be released on Mar. 2 with a show at Mercury Café, Manley collaborates with some Denver music notables, including Jeff Rady (Casey James Prestwood & the Burning Angels) and Shawn King (DeVotchKa). He also recorded the album at Silo Sound Studios with Grammy-nominated engineer Nick Sullivan. But even with a handful of highly competent cooks in the kitchen, Manley pulls off a deceptively simple album with thoughtful, sparse arrangements that include horns, subtle backup vocals and pedal steel guitar. Always at the forefront, however, is Manley’s voice, one both original and tied to tradition, just like Manley’s music. These are songs that will flirt shyly at first, but eventual capture the hearts of Americana fans. Steal the title track below.
At 5 minutes 43 seconds, “Brevity” may not be the most apt title for the first single from Catch Bees’ second release, “Narratives from a Factory Town.” But this is a song that requires the space. What begins as a guitar and vocals ditty soon evolves into a swirl of dreamy, optimistic violins and cellos. Nearing the four-minute mark, the song even seems to reach a natural conclusion – but no, after a silent pause, the strings return. And we’re glad for it. The original song is abandoned and what is left is the soundtrack to a glorious sunrise. Fort Collins’ Philip Waggoner has produced some inspiring music as both Catch Bees and The Sunshine House, and if this is any sample of where he is going, we want to tag along. Follow Catch Bees Bandcamp page to do the same.
Please note that downloads offered via Steal This Track are intended to whet your appetite, and are NOT CD-quality recordings. If you want those, please support the artists by buying their music and/or seeing them live.
If you’re a band or musician ready to expose your fresh sounds to the readers of Reverb, email your tracks — along with any interesting facts about them, as well as a photo or album art — to Steal This Track for consideration.
Josh Johnson is a Denver freelance writer and Reverb contributor. He is also a co-host/co-producer of the Denver podcast Denver Diatribe.