Steal This Track from Jesse Manley


On April 26, Jesse Manley will debut the live recording of A Gothic Folktale, music he wrote for a ballet in collaboration with Wonderbound and mentalist/magician Professor Phelyx. Steal “The Rules” now.

What do you get when you cross a folk musician, a dance troupe and a magician? No joke, you get a gothic folktale.

In early 2013, Denver folkster Jesse Manley teamed up with Garrett Ammon, Artistic Director of Wonderbound, the dance company formerly known as Ballet Nouveau, to create a work of art that transcends music and dance, and enters the realm of magic. The two began working together in 2011 when Ammon choreographed a ballet to Manley’s first album, Devil’s Red. But this recent collaboration is grander in scope, with the music written specifically for the performance.

A Gothic Folktale is a performance without a traditional narrative. Rather, a vaudevillian host leads viewers through a show full of mysticism. To add to the magic, the group actually includes real magic from the noted magician and mentalist Professor Phelyx.

On Saturday, April 26, Jesse Manley will debut a live recording of the music from A Gothic Folktale with a performance at Wonderbound. The album is very much a soundtrack, at times feeling incomplete without the performance, but the collection is impressive on its own. Manley makes heavy use of the tenor banjo to create an eery, vaudeville feeling throughout, yet the album showcases his ability to incorporate a variety of instruments and arrangements to maintain a theme with an expansive creativity.