Great playing and decent writing make third Manx/Breit summit enjoyable.
Strictly Whatever is the third pairing of guitar masters Harry Manx and Kevin Breit. Opting for eclecticism, the duo re-works a blues favorite––John Lee Hooker’s “Mr. Lucky”––spends some time tripping through the past on “Hippy Trippy” and creates a seamless blend of light and dark via a cover of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” and an adaptation of the Mary Elizabeth Frye poem “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep”. There are stringed instruments galore, natch, from banjo to baritone guitar, and even a little now-obligatory ukulele on the feel-good “Little Ukulele”. The playing often outshines the writing, but it’s rare to hear two guys playing this well this consistently.