Review of ‘Bag Of Knives’, November/December 2008, Minor 7th.com:
Throughout, the lyrics are as carefully chosen as every note on this elegant album. (The lack of a lyric insert is unforgivable!) Downtempo tunes dominate and sadness lingers. But there's more than enough beauty and inventiveness to lift the coldest heart. The waltz-able refrain ("Dance with me") of "Desert Waltz" -- the tale of a soldier's deployment and return -- brims with longing effectively mirrored by Manning's playing. "Please" features the wish-I'd-written "snug as a gun" (by way of Seamus Heaney?) and "the shock that shook me speechless." "Another Day in the Life" overlays detail on detail on top of insistent bass and fiddle as it moves toward its inevitable but still devastating conclusion. "From The 2-Step To The 12-Step Once Again," brings welcome humor while proving these guys know their way around a swing tune. This "Bag of Knives" is sharp: lovely, affecting, and original." © David Kleiner
Bag of Knives is an album of ten heartfelt, wry, edgy songs given a meticulous acoustic production.
Bob (vocals/guitar) is from Cork, Ireland and Chad (fiddle/mandolin/production) is originally from Spokane, Washington. They first started playing together a decade ago in the Bay Area roots outfit ‘Resident Aliens’, noted by the San Francisco Herald for their “exhilarating music” which “provided the soundtrack for many of our favorite moments of San Francisco.”
In recent years Bob has decided to further his education by attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston. As a songwriter he’s been called “a cross between Ray Davies, Randy Newman and Ryan Adams” -(Taxi). Other collections of original songs he’s recorded are “Enjoy Your Confusion” (“a highly original collection of eclectic songs” - Metronome Magazine,) “Some Assembly Required” and “Resident Aliens.”
For the past six years Chad has recorded and toured with The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. Darol Anger has said of Chad: “He is one of the most impressive from an exciting new crop of fiddlers. Not only does he play great but he can really write a tune.” Chad has also been fortunate to get to play in bands with many of his favorite musicians including J.D. Crowe, Tony Trischka, Scott Nygaard, Alan Munde, Rob Ickes, Ronnie McCoury, Ron Block, Laurie Lewis, and Mike Compton - to name a few. Chad’s recordings include “Old Gnarly Oak”, “In The Midst” and “DGBX”.
On Bag of Knives they are joined by another ex-‘Resident Alien’, Scoop McGuire, on bass. Scoop presently lives and works in Eugene, Oregon. On harmonies is the Boston singer Annie Lynch, who’s been making waves on the east coast with her band ‘Annie and the Beekeepers’.