“Songs are gifts from a magical space somewhere between mind, spirit, and the collective consciousness.”
With backgrounds in Chinese medicine, plant medicine, shamanism, mysticism, nature photography, and meditation practice, the Ventura, CA-based music-man has quietly created an impressive musical anthology, including the four previous albums: Darkest Wild (2012), Shine Like a Lantern (2014), Let it Rain (2017), and East Wind (2017).
Noting his influences as Dave Matthews, Cat Stevens, Sufjan Stevens, Anais Mitchell, Fleet Foxes, Ane Brun, Stephen Stills, Deb Talan, Neil Young, and others, his latest album, Ghost Dancer, was greatly inspired by everything from love & infatuation and whales, to the laws of physics and a few Native American tales.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Opening with, Fire In The Snow, a subtly-muted acoustic melody is joined by a Native flute and world-style percussion to create a smooth and ambient texture, which when joined by Mann’s vocals, is reminiscent of one Peter Gabriel.
Written from the perspective of a whale speaking to humans, Blue Blue Horizon, is a lovely bit of acoustic finger-picking, violin, and a Cat Stevens-esque vocal timbre…
“Blue blue horizon, a distance not so near
Ocean, my mother, free me from all fear…”
Inspired by the Thomas fires in Ventura (the largest fires in California history), where houses were burning to the ground just three minutes from where Kirk was living, is the primarily electric, 70’s style, alt/psych-rock number, Ghost Dancer. (Check out the video below.) Written in stream-of-consciousness style, Mann pays homage to the maker…
“Ghost Dancer. Creator. Destroyer. Protector. Protect us now…”
“Everything is remembered by the heart.”
—Two Be Two
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Don’t Turn Your Back On The Ocean pays homage to the Mother Earth and her great seas. A lovely bit of female harmony joins Mann along with his usual bit of technically-sound acoustic guitar, strings, and native flute; all of which, by now, could be qualified as the Kirk-Mann-sound.
Don’t Let It Bring You Down immediately reminds me of Neil Young’s, Old Man. Electric replaces acoustic here, and it works as Kirk is clearly comfortable on both.
With Sitar and Arab tones, the album closes in a brave and unique fashion with, Thy Music, a celebration to the sonic act of creating song.
With heartwarming sincerity and meticulous attention to detail, Kirk Mann’s fifth studio album, Ghost Dancer, offers a refreshing and gentle experience with this primarily acoustically-inclined collection of songs. Why refreshing? Simple. While many artists are currently—and understandably—writing in reaction to the culture’s marketed images of violence and victimization, Mann has moved just laterally to all of that, and created a body of work which asks and observes from a more omnipresent point of view. Instead of asking, “Why is this happening?”, Mann simply asks, “Who are we now?”
Musically, this 11-track collection is simultaneously minimalist—and high in detail. Generally speaking, with little more than a fine vocal timbre, a guitar, and a violin, the album takes shape with fine clarity and production. Five albums in, Mann knows what he’s doing. And, at the end of the day, his evolving sound has not only maintained, but built upon, the smooth and soothing sensibility upon which he’s built his musical reputation. Folks, this is a really good album.
Cat Stevens meets Peter Gabriel…
BELOW: Check out our full artist interview with Kirk Mann, listen to music from his album, Ghost Dancer, connect with his website and social media platforms, watch his music video, and find his booking & contact information. Please support Kirk Mann by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
Check out our interview with KIRK MANN:
Listen to music from KIRK MANN’s album, GHOST DANCER:
Follow, stream, download & connect with KIRK MANN online:
Watch KIRK MANN’s music video for the song GHOST DANCER:
Booking & contact information for KIRK MANN:
Contact: Kirk Mann
Email: kirksong7 (at) gmail.com