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Singing Sands
Artist: Tony McManus and Alain Genty
Label: Integral Music / Compass Records
Length: 10 tracks / 49:44 min

After the first couple of listens to Singing Sands, it was hard to tell this is a Celtic album.  It sounded much more like a typical acoustic guitar instrumental and sort of faded into the background noise.  Both men’s skills (McManus on the acoustic guitar and Genty on the fretless bass) were never in doubt.  But I had to review the liner notes to be assured that I was listening to Celtic music and crank my stereo about 50 percent higher than normal to get any effect from it.

The scarcity of instruments on these tracks takes away one of the elements that I have always enjoyed about Celtic music—that “jam band” edge that’s repetitive but makes up for it by varying degrees of intensity. Singing Sands, on the other hand, tends to keep the same mix throughout.

I readily confess that I am not an expert on acoustic guitar instrumental albums.  Genty certainly provides a warm bass to complement McManus’ crafty picking and the song construction was impressive.  If you like acoustic guitar and bass by themselves, I’m sure you will enjoy this album immensely. But for me, this was kind of like listening to Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee without Neil Peart.

Dan Singleton
October 28, 2005



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