Distinguishing oneself from being just another guy with a guitar from all the other guys with guitars is difficult. Jesse Manley, however, seems more than up to the task, thanks to earnest lyrics, dreamy melodies and a truly unique voice, all of which make the improbably-monikered musician's songs truly stand out. Much like the first time I heard Gregory Alan Isakov, I was instantly captivated by Manley's songs and sounds. The singer-songwriter is still working on recordings for a debut and hasn't played out much yet, but the tracks on his MySpace page are those of a mature songwriter with a well-developed style. "Vagabond Hill" reminds me of some of Dylan's more ambitious ballads, while "Final Mistake" has a lovely country lope, blended with an indie folk sensibility. If you only have the attention span for one song, though, make it "Devil's Red" -- an excellent showcase of Manley's voice and vision. Definitely keep an eye out for this fresh new talent.
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