Danny Manners Boards Big Big Train

Nick, Andy, Dave, David, Danny, Greg.  Photo by Willem Klopper.
Nick, Andy, Dave, David, Danny, big red sign, Greg.
Photo by Willem Klopper.

Great news today on Facebook from the station master himself, Greg Spawton of Big Big Train.  Bassist and keyboardist Danny Manners has officially become a member of the band, joining Spawton, Andy Poole, David Longdon, Dave Gregory, and Nick D’Virgilio.

Spawton wrote:

We are pleased to announce that Danny Manners has joined Big Big Train as the band’s keyboard player. Danny made a significant contribution to English Electric Part One, playing keyboards and double bass and we are delighted that Danny has accepted our offer to join the band in time for the release of English Electric Part Two on March 4th. Danny’s past credits include Louis Philippe and Cathal Coughlan.

Manners’s training has been mostly in classical and jazz.  He writes of himself at his website:

For those who have stumbled across me: I’m a double bassist, electric bassist, pianist, arranger and composer living in London, England. Starting with classical music as a child and teenager, I worked my way backwards through jazz and finally worked out how to play pop half-decently in my thirties. Along the way I’ve also been involved in improvised and “leftfield” musics. At the moment I’m lucky enough to be doing a little bit of all of these…

He also lists an impressive discography, having played extensively with Louis Phillippe, Louise Le May, Cathal Coughlan, Sandy Dillon, and Muse: http://www.dannymanners.co.uk/albums.html

I must admit, I’m (I–ed., Brad) thoroughly impressed with this addition.  Over twenty years old, beginning with original members, Spawton and Poole, Big Big Train has never ceased to grow, take grand chances, and transform into what is arguably one of the greatest–if not THE greatest–rock band of our era.  With their near collapse after the recording “Bard,” Spawton and Poole have developed the group tremendously with “Gathering Speed,” “The Difference Machine”, “The Underfall Yard”, and “Far Skies Deep Time”.  Their 2012 release, “English Electric Part One”, has received rave reviews and has been labeled the single finest release of 2012 by a number of critics.

To this critic, “English Electric Part One” is not just the best of 2012, it’s the best rock release since Talk Talk’s 1988 magnum opus, “Spirit of Eden.”  Before that, one would have to jump back to Yes’s “Close to the Edge” or Genesis’s “Selling England By the Pound” in the early 1970s or to Dave Brubeck’s “Time Out” to find comparable works of music in the last half century.

It should be noted as well that the engineer for Big Big Train, Rob Aubrey, is the Phill Brown of our era as well.

Finally, Manners has worked with David Longdon before, and–I assume–connected Big Big Train to the famous bassist and keyboardist.

The second part of English Electric will be released on March 4 of this year.  American drummer, Nick D’Virgilio, a full-time member of the band, just finished recording the final drum parts for “English Electric Part Two.”  Additionally, the band will be releasing a limited edition of the full “English Electric” in the fall and the re-imaging of previous tracks on “Station Masters” in 2014.