New Roots/Blues: Manx Marriner Mainline — ‘Hellbound For Heaven’

Manx Marriner Mainline — Hellbound For Heaven
Label: Stony Plain Records

Having a stack of recently released CDs to choose from, I decided to go for the most promising title. Scanning the stack of CD spines, I spied the words “Hellbound For Heaven.” Now this, I thought to myself, sounds like the source of some original quality music. Having listened to the album on repeat as I spent most of the afternoon taking care of important tasks such as finishing a glass of wine begun with last night’s dinner, counting the deer starting to make regular appearances in the backyard, and reminding myself that I liked the rain on the roof and that soon enough I’d be wishing it weren’t so hot and humid. You get the idea. This album, featuring Harry Manx and Steve Marriner, put me in the precise mood that’s called for on an April Saturday in Woodstock, New York. One after another, the songs in this collection please in ways that are good for the ears, the mind, and the soul.

Manx and Marriner, multi-instrumentals who have shared stages together for years, are a perfect musical design. They support each other’s artistry with consistency and a natural ease that ensures that, in their interwoven musicianship, the song is served first and foremost. What a pair of talented co-workers. In their debut album together they deliver a roots album that incorporates elements of blues and gospel. The album includes mostly original songs (by both Manx and Marriner), as well as a few covers, including “Rattlesnake Blues” and “This Little Light of Mine.” My personal favorite is track 4, “My Lord” — written by Steve Marriner.

Hellbound For Heaven is an album you’ll put on and wonder, satisfied, when it’s over, just where the time went. Kinda like a life well-lived.

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