Jesse Manley has a fresh track for your hungry ears. Photo by Amanda Tipton. There are many reasons to create music, of course. There’s the pedestrian desire for popularity, there is the vaulted idea of artistic creation, but there are also less common reasons. For Jesse Manley, one reason seems to be archeological exploration. On […]
Jesse Manley’s music has a unique sound, rooted in traditional folk music and verse, but seeking to re-invent a time-honored sound by blending a menagerie of historical genres with his own haunting voice.
Manley is driven by the creative process, and is bolstered and inspired by working with a variety of different artists – most notably Garrett Ammon of Wonderbound. With collaboration at the core of many of his projects, he is able to make his artwork a richer experience for his listeners. He has a passion for working with dance, film, literature, and many other forms of art.
Manley’s first album, Devil’s Red, was released in April 2011. Just prior to the official release, Garrett Ammon created a ballet entitled Vagabond Hill using several selections from the album. The ballet featured the eerie shadow puppetry of Catherine Strecker, and Manley performed live onstage with the dancers. Devil’s Red received energetic praise from local, national, and international critics, including a feature on the music website Epitonic.
Manley completed his second effort; an EP entitled A Path through the Dark, in November 2012 collaborating with many of Denver’s most talented musicians and production artists including Jeff Rady (Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angels and Strange Americans), David Thomas Bailey (FaceMan), Dean Hirschfield (FaceMan), Shawn King (Devotchka), Scott McCormick (Boulder Acoustic Society and Lee Avenue), Colin Bricker (Mighty Fine Productions), and many more. The album was added into rotation at over 110 radio stations across the United States, including a Top 30 charting at WALT in Davidson, NC.
Early in 2013, Manley and Ammon embarked on a new collaboration entitled A Gothic Folktale, this time partnering with the talented mentalist Professor Phelyx. The vision for this new work was inspired by magical realism, incorporating tarot as its core theme. In October 2013, A Gothic Folktale was brought to the stage, receiving critical acclaims, and the collaboration was featured on Rocky Mountain PBS. Michael Mulhern of Presenting Denver raved “The amazing band, led by Jesse Manley with original music for the show was the cherry on the top of the cake and the live aspect added such a wonderful quality to the production.” Live recordings of the final two performances were produced into an album which was released on April 26, 2014.
For A Gothic Folktale and Winter, Manley has collaborated with some of Denver’s most talented musicians including Jean-Luc Davis, Ben Gallagher, Dean Hirschfield, April Johannesen, and Emily Rose Lewis.