Guy Manning's has been quite busy lately with releasing his sixth solo release (his first with Progrock Records) as well as a brand new The Tangent cd (of which I reviewed as well recently). Guy has a very melodic approach to progressive rock. Itís somewhat singer/songwriter based but by no means mainstream. Vocally heís been compared to Ian Anderson, but I hear Paul Williams (yes you heard me right). Before you go, what the?!? Iím comparing the vocal styling of Paul from his Phantom of the Paradise days. Speaking of which, Guy has sone wonderful female vocals that are on par and better than the female vocals on the Phantom soundtrack.
Guy has been doing solo releases since 1999 along with guesting on PO90 and participating in The Tangent. Joining Guy on A Matter of Life & Death (a sequel to a his debut, Tall Stories...) are Laura Fowles on sax & vocals, Gareth Harwood on guitar & vocals, and Rich Ashton on bass & vocals, a return favor from Andy Tillison (PO90, The Tangent), John Tipping (drums), Ian Fairbairn (fiddle), Neil Harris (piano, ,melodica, percussion, vocals) and Tim Moon (cello.).
This is a beautifully done album that has itís roots in classic prog and rock while having a strong modern appeal. Itís very hard to pick a favorite on this album since all of the songs are very good and high quality music both lyrically and instrumentation wise. This along with the latest The Tangent release will be frequent visitors to my cd player, but Guyís album has a more warm familiar feeling to it. Like an old friend coming to tell you a beautiful story with his music. Also I must bring forth the attention of Ed Unitskys' s artwork that graces Guy Manningís cd cover as well as The Tangentís two releases. Some have called him the Roger Dean of today. I think heís on par with Roger as well as Paul Whitehead..
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 31st, 2004