Hell Bound For Heaven

Manx Marriner Mainline

Stony Plain 2019

Review by David Bowling


So who or what is a Manx Marriner Mainline?

Harry Manx and Steve Marriner are multi-instrumentals who have shared the stage together for a number of years. Manx is an expert slide guitarist and a practitioner of the Mohan Veena, which is a 20 string Indian instrument that he has incorporated into his blues style. He has 15 solo album to his credit. Marriner is a long-time member of the band MonkeyJunk. They have now combined their talents to release their debut album Hell Bound For Heaven.

They have produced primarily a roots album that incorporates strong elements of blues and gospel. Manx’s exploration of fusing Indian music and American blues are muted as they take a more traditional approach.

Their debut together consists of six original and four cover tunes. The title track, the only one to feature the Mohan Veena, has creative interplay with Marriner’s twelve-string guitar and is representative of the fusion of sounds and styles that combine to create their brand of roots music. “My Lord” is just Marriner on guitar, harmonica, and vocals, which proves that sometimes simple is best.

The covers run the gamete from Reverend Gary Davis’ “Death Have No Mercy In This Land” to the traditional “This Little Light Of Mine.” Right in the middle is Charlie Patton’s “Rattlesnake Blues” with Manx revving up his slide guitar for some straight-forward blues.

Harry Manx and Steve Marriner have combine their talents to release an album that explores many facets of what can be defined as roots music. Hell Bound For Heaven is an album that invites repeated exploration.

Rating: ***