A Path Through The Dark
4 out of 5 stars
Jesse Manley is a minimalist, but somehow the Denver-based folk singer is also a hoarder of sound.
The folk traditionalist, whose vocals give his songs a decidedly Irish twang, starts his latest album A Path Through The Dark with simple acoustic finger-picking accompanied by hauntingly soaring pedal steel on the instrumental song “Coffee and Cigarettes.” The rest of the six song, 21 minute EP, though, has enough guest spots for the album to almost qualify as a “various artists” compilation. From members of Faceman to Boulder Acoustic Society alumni, as well as many others, Manley manages to produce a full, flushed-out sound, while keeping the arrangements sparse and open.
The track “Out of Your Head,” for example, is a straight-forward chord progression, but when Manley and company hit the soaring climax of the song, it sounds as if he’s playing with an alt-country symphony. That balance is present on every track of the EP. For every loud note — not that it ever gets bombastic — there is an equal silence, and those silences are placed as perfectly as the notes, continuing the adage “it’s not the notes you play but the ones that you don’t play.” — BFJ
:: Jesse Manley ::
:: Mercury Café :: CD release :: March 2 ::