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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manning - Still plenty to say!, 16 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Root, the Leaf & the Bone (MP3 Download)
Guy Manning has, over the last few years, become a particular favourite singer/songwriter of mine. He possesses a rare ability to tell musical stories in the most lyrical and expressive manner, one that breathes life into the subject matter of his songs. So, what of the new Manning release, The Root, The Leaf & The Bone? The album consists of nine songs that are loosely concerned with the concept of change - our place in history, our relationship with the natural world, memories of earlier times and the legacy we leave behind us. Each and every day we walk amongst our history, whether it's out in open view or buried beneath our feet. This album is Guy Manning's reflection on what that all means to us in an age where we rarely have chance to contemplate anything other than what we're doing at any given moment.

Helping Manning weave his tales on the album are, Kris Hudson-Lee on bass, David Million on guitars, Julie King on vocals and Rick Henry on percussion. There are several guest players, some long-term allies to Manning, who are often key to adding to the rich texture of the music on this album, particularly Steve Dundon on flute, Ian Fairbairn on fiddle, David Albone on drums, Marek Arnold on saxophones, joss Allsopp on trumpet and Kathy Hampson on cello. Also, adding to Guy Manning and Kris Hudson-Lee's artwork and Kevin Brudenell-Maylin's photography is booklet art contributed by one Brian Watson - a lovely fellow, friend to many and a rapidly emerging artist!

The music on this album ranges from the near twelve minute scene setting title track, where gentle, reflective music gives way to a faster based full band tune, the straight forward rock of Decon(struction) Blues, folk-rock in the shape of The Huntsman & The Poacher and Mists Of Morning Calling To The Day, some Canterbury tinged goodness on Palace Of Delights and the sublime balladry of Autumn Song and Amongst The Sleepers - the latter impressing with its uplifting finale.

I watched an interview recently where Sting was talking about his new album, The Last Ship, commenting on the fact that it was his first album of new, self-penned material in ten years. His simple explanation for the interval was, "I didn't have anything to say".

Guy Manning, by way of some contrast, is delivering his 14th album in about as many years in The Root, The Leaf & The Bone. One thing you'd expect from such a busy recording artist is that he'd now be adept in the art of constructing his songs and certainly all the songs on this album are presented with seemingly effortless skill and perception - Manning has an innate ability to choose the right sounds to accompany his fine compositions. The concern, of course, is whether one so prolific can sustain a consistently high level of creativity and originality over such an intense period of activity, especially as Manning is a wordsmith as well as a musician.

So .......has Manning still got plenty to say? The answer, I think, is there for all to see and hear in The Root, The Leaf & The Bone - finely crafted and consistently original songs, intelligent and meaningful lyrics and a keen ear for creating the right blend of instrumentation, mood and sound. Many will argue that his 14th album is Guy Manning's most pleasing and accomplished collection of songs yet - and I don't think you'll find me disagreeing too much with that view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars manning, 18 April 2014
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Mr. James S. Edmondson (u.k.) - See all my reviews
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like going back in time to the early seventies, this is very reminiscent of jethro tull because of lots of flute on the album
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5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Guy Manning's best album to date., 25 Mar. 2014
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Malcolm White - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Root, the Leaf & the Bone (MP3 Download)
I started listening to Guy Manning about a year ago and he has become one of my favourite artists. This is as I said in the title one of his best albums yet, it's just a shame he has split from his backing group. Still I expect there will be plenty more to come.

Is this prog rock? Well yes I suppose so. It's certainly a concept album celebrating the English countryside and bemoaning the despoiling of the same in the name of progress. Listening to it, you hear touches of Jethro Tull, Magna Carta and possibly even Pekka Pohjola (look him up!).

Try it, yo won't be disappointed.
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