Where the Sun Meets the Blue
"The combination of Mank’s voice, songs and guitar, complimented with Smolen’s cello and every time one or two changing instruments and voices, results in a wonderful charismatic folk album.” - Heaven Magazine, August 2007. Produced by Julie Last.
"Tom Mank and Sera Smolen are so far beyond the mainstream, it's scary. They are acoustic music's Igor Stravinsky in a world of Brahms and Schumanns. I mean, Brahms and Schumann are great, but Stravinsky— man, that's adventure! So it is with Mank and Smolen, at least as presented in Where the Sun Meets the Blue, an album of amazing musical styles. Sure, the overlying style is folk and jazz with a bit of Smolenized-classical thrown in on the side, but that does not even begin to describe what goes on on this album. And trust me when I say that the meager attempt I make here will fall sadly short. Mank approaches this album like a modern beatnik, picking subjects on the edge and presenting them with unerring touch. For instance, Off-Beat Rhyme. A seemingly simple look at an unrequited love of sorts, he creeps into the nebulous shadows of emotional turmoil, yet with a light and practical air brought off by his superb guitar and the absolutely laughably excellent cello of Sera Smolen. Throw in a magnificent performance, magically understated of course, by Amy Merrill on viola and some otherworldly voice by producer Julie Last and the stage is set. I am of the mind that Tom Mank and Sera Smolen are easily Grammy material. They are expert at their craft, but more than that, they develop it. At their level, I am not at all sure that it is a craft but art. Regardless, I know one thing. There can't be a gig they play where a large percentage of their audience is not comprised of fellow musicians. That, my friends, is a given, and it speaks volumes." Frank Gutch, Jr. - Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange (Aug, 2008)
"Tom Mank's talent lies in songwriting and in creatively dreaming away to horizons 'where the sun meets the blue'. His songs remain on that emotional line which perfectly keeps the balance between jazzy bluesnotes and improvising day-dreaming-blues. Sometimes his voice resembles Nick Drake. He also knows how to embrace the nostalgia of the fall as well as the spring-breeze in his songs. (This is) an album to become silent out of respect for the wandering spirits on dancing feet, reaching out for a melody and the rhythm of the beat. No better words than this 'free translation' of the passage from Tom Mank's 'Where's That Train', to describe this CD." Marcie - Rootstime (Jan, 2008)
May 1, 2007 Recorded May 2006 - March 2007 by Julie Last @ Cold Brook Productions, Bearsville, NY - additional recording by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland Mastered by Rich DePaolo Graphic Design by Patti Witten
Artists: Julie Last (vocal), Kirsti Gholson (vocal), Pam Daley (vocal), Amy Merrill (viola), Eddie Smith (percussion), David Hornung (accordian), Josh Roy Brown (lap steel), and Michael Veitch (electric guitar)