‘Exit, Pursued by a Bear’ is the eagerly anticipated but long-time-coming third album from song-maker and guitarist Chris Manners. Musically it’s firmly rooted in the English folk tradition, filtered through a mash-up of other influences: Nic Jones, Spike Jones, Jake Thackray, Bruce Springsteen, and John Chibadura & The Tembo Brothers.
Lyrically it’s a sharp but affectionate dissection of . . . well, everything really. From Napoleon’s exile on Elba to choosing the right colour for the kitchen wall; from the decline of tradition industry to the horrors of war and the disappointments of middle age. It even includes a couple of love songs, one of them with fleas.
The album was recorded painstakingly between the end of the industrial revolution and 2018 at the world famous Talking Cat Studios in Ripponden, in the magnificent hearing of producer Jon Loomes. Jon (Pilgrim’s Way & Heretique) also contributes violin and accordion here and there, while long-time musical partner Tim Blythe takes a break from spin-doctoring and from being lead guitarist in Clogiron to add a gargle of backing vocals plus spice and variety from a bewildering array of stringed and fretted things.
Chris has been knocking around the folk scene for years, mainly in Yorkshire but also for appreciable times in Manchester, London and Essex; he’s a resident with Ryburn 3 Step and the Ryburn folk club in Ripponden. And he’s still writing.