Garry Manuel is a veteran singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. From his high school garage rock days in the 60’s, to his current role as songwriter and producer for SunFlare songs, Garry has spent more than half a century making music. In 2020 the upstate New York musician launched a brand new solo project.
He spent his early years gigging around the Northeast. By the 1970’s Garry Manuel was in college and had started his band Sunup, a project he would return to repeatedly over the years. Work brought him to Connecticut for awhile, but in recent years he has been living back in his home state of New York, in a small town outside of Rochester.
“The Dream Again” is the new five-song EP from Garry Manuel, available worldwide via all major streaming services. The collection features an ensemble of virtuosic players from the Rochester region, including multi-Platinum Grammy & Emmy winning producer, drummer and recording artist, Narada Michael Walden. On the record, Manuel breathes new life into compositions from decades past, and in doing so he shows us the connection of cause to effect, and the inseparable ties of the past to the present.
Throughout the EP, Garry Manuel pairs introspective and spiritual lyrical themes with jazz-infused adult contemporary grooves. The record opens with the easy mood of “Pray for Rain”, a catchy and upbeat soft rock nugget about finding joy in any moment. The track sets the pace for a smooth set of 70’s pop-inspired good vibes.
The record’s title track follows. With its smooth jazz vibes and soul-searching lyrics, the song beats as the philosophical and musical heart of the EP. Backed by an ensemble of bass, drums, piano and saxophone, Garry delivers a soulful and introspective narrative. He sings of the disillusionment of unrealized dreams, the Zen of appreciating the present, and the hope of a dream renewed.
On the instrumental “Words Won’t Do”, Garry Manuel offers a beautiful blues guitar ballad reminiscent of Gary Moore’s solo work. “Romantic Knots” is a relaxed soft rock torch song about love’s confusion. The tune transports us back to the early days of FM radio, when country-jazz-hippies like the Eagles ruled the airwaves. The fabulous instrumental closer “Spontaneously Deep” finds a blue guitar in a dream-pop cloud. Electric piano chords flow on the horizon as Garry lays down a beautiful, jazz-infused guitar solo.
Check out “The Dream Again” video below, and listen to the entire EP on your favorite streaming service. You can hear “Words Won’t Do” the Deep Indie Jazz playlist and “Spontaneously Deep” on the Deep Indie Chill. We had a chance to talk to Garry Manuel about the EP. Check out his answers to our 7 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.
7 Questions with Garry Manuel
Where are you from?
Garry Manuel: Outside of Rochester, NY
How long have you been making music?
Professionally since I was 17.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
- Narada Michael Walden (drums) who has many albums to his credit, plus played with Jeff Beck, Mahavishnu Orchestra, produced Whitey Houston and much more.
- Bill Tiberio (saxophone) with Bill Tiberio Band, as well as music instructor at Fairport High School, Ithaca College and others,
- Brian Soule (piano and keyboards), who played in Sunup and other Rochester based groups,
- Dave Kluge (bass), music instructor at Rush Henrietta High School, and a number of groups,
- Chuck Bianchi (bass), who performs with Brass Taxi, instructor at Rochester Area Music Project,
- Frank Rauck (bass) who plays in numerous Rochester based bands and recorded with Sunup,
- Terrific vocalists: Stephanie LaBarge, Shawanda Owens, Diane Holmes, Mary Manuel, Caroline Rohlin and Karla van Aardt.
- My son, Marshall, was the recording & mastering engineer.
- I do lead vocals, play electric and acoustic guitars, strings, songwriter and producer.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Ray Charles, C S & N, The Beatles
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Working/volunteering in the City of Rochester in efforts to alleviate poverty and racism.
What inspired you to create this project?
The song, “The Dream Again”, has been more or less laying in wait since 1974. We began recording the song for this EP in the summer of 2021. Just before laying down my vocal track I added the third verse, which more or less sums up the journey and takes us to present times.
We first performed the song with Sunup, live on WCMF-fm in 1974. The country was healing from the upheaval of the Vietnam War, racial unrest, women’s right to choose, along with Nixon’s exit from the Watergate scandal. The tune never lost its relevance and recently there was a short period of sensing The Dream Again.
I really wanted to bring that sense of hope and joy back into the arena of life. I believe that was accomplished, but admittedly, some of that enthusiasm has evaporated. Still, we must never lose hope. Additionally, the EP is a mix of styles. You’re advised to pinpoint your style, but just think about The Beatles! How are the songs, Michelle, I Want You, and Helter Skelter alike?!
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I’ll soon be releasing some recordings from 1980-1990 and an all acoustic album with several instrumentals.