If you like the wall-to-wall Americana roots then music of Canadian guitar slinger Billy Manzik is right up your musical avenue.
Varied and exciting, the music of Manzik and ensemble of pickers has both an eclectic and adventuress feel, as rock, country, blues and pop groove as in ‘Has Been’ slot in alongside one another.
'All Together Now' is one of those albums where it seems no sooner you have pressed play and the final song is about to fade to leave you no other choice but press replay. Rich in quality and fullness, Manzik forces the envelope with a creative flair that is to be ignored at your peril. For one killer tune follows another as in female harmony vocals aided ‘Hannah’, the bright and good to-be-alive ‘Sounds’, that with piano, guitars and keyboards coupled with percussion reach great heights. If you are a fan of the likes of the Mississippi All-Stars and the like then ‘61 Highway’ uttering a pounding rhythm is not to be missed. Loaded with swirling slide guitar, harmonica and organ it captures the restless feel of the road and the American South! Dynamic and like the old blues masters the momentum builds as the miles are clocked up (I could well imagine Texan Joe Ely doing this one; are you listening, Joe?).
At his best when pushing hard, Manzik also shines like a beacon on ‘The Needle Threads’ and the steady rocker ‘Time Passes’ coupled with a country-ish ‘Note To Self’ —that has him straddle the genres as banjo and piano are put to excellent use.
‘On The Road’ that he opens with has a mighty groove and is typical of his music, that unlike some acts it also possesses a flexibility to hold the attention of the listener and have them yearn for more. ‘Consigned’ contains a slightly funky blues aided rhythm that wouldn’t be out of place on a J.J Cale album, only Manzik’s music has a greater bounce to it, and the likeness also stretches, using a little imagination to ‘Same Thing Goes’.
On reflection this is a wonderful album as Billy who plays electric, acoustic guitar plus Geoff Hilhorst, Erik Allen, Mike Filipowitsch, David Baxter, Johnny Kerr and others never allow the sound to stagnate or diversify too much but remain fresh throughout. If you are wondering where Manzik’s greatest influence it was through his guitar playing, country singing mother and listening to Heavy Metal music as a boy!