Guy Manning’s ‘Songs From The Bilston House’ is the latest release and first with the label, Festival Music. The usual suspects return to help Guy create his musical vision. The concept of this album follows in a similar vein to 'Anser's Tree’. I always enjoy albums with themes or concepts, this one is especially enjoyable because of it’s story of generations of the same family in The Bilston House. The thing I noticed is that while all the songs are part of the story, they also are great stand alone tracks.
I’ve had the extreme pleasure of reviewing Guy’s last three albums ‘A Matter of Life & Death (The Journal of Abel Mann)’, "One Small Step..." and ‘Anser’s Tree’. Each better than the last, improving on a formula Guy has been doing for almost a decade. Oh and on the new album, Guy even thanks me. This is always a humbling honor when I get thanked on an album. Now to humble Mr. Manning and saying “Songs From Bilston House’ is an absolute gem. It’s one of the better releases of 2007 and shows what a great musician, composer and a damn fine vocalist. I’d say Guy’s vocals are upon the more recognizable of the newer progressive rock singers.
‘Songs From The Bilston’ is a solid listen all the way through, one a rare things these days. Guy keeps the listener yearning for more. One song that I keep going to is “Understudy“. To me it shows the more electric side of the Manning catalog and it‘s quite infectious. I can’t recommend this album enough to his fans and fans of symphonic and folk based progressive rock. I’d also say it should be awarded among the best of 2007’s releases.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on January 12th, 2008