photo: Gary Ezekian
Born in Lakehurst, NJ, Eddie Manion presently lives outside Pittsburgh in Mars. Pa His resume includes a prodigious number of albums and tours with an extensive array of artists. Manion currently serves as horn director and arranger in longtime collaborator Stevie Van Zandt’s band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul (it was Van Zandt who gave Manion his longtime nickname “Kingfish”). His longstanding relationship with Bruce Springsteen has led to Manion playing a prominent role on many Springsteen albums and tours including his Tunnel of Love Express tour in 1988 and the Wrecking Ball and High Hopes Tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band 2012-2014, Eddie was an original member of Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band recording ‘We Shall Overcome” on Columbia Records. Manion was also a member of the Robert Cray Band in 1992 recording and writing horn arrangements for that band’s album Shame + A Sin, nominated for Best Contemporary Blues album at the 35th Grammy awards In 1982 he toured the world with Diana Ross’s band. Manion launched his career in 1976 as an original member of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes as member of the Miami Horns. Highlights of his long musical career include performing with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band at Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, Performing and writing horn arrangements for Bruce Springteen’s segment of the 25th anniversary Rock n Roll hall of fame concert at Madison Square Garden in 2009, backing artists Darlene Love, Sam Moore and John Fogerty. Performing with Paul McCartney twice in his life once with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Hyde Park (London) in 2012 and once with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul at the Roundhouse also in London November 4,2017 Eddie played several memorable White House performances for Special Olympics in the late 1990’s performing with Eric Clapton, Jon Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow ,BB King and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Coastin' In emphasizes Manion’s expansive musical vision, which incorporates several decades’ worth of R&B, soul and rock ’n’ roll know-how. Beyond the Manion-penned title track and the holiday-themed original “The Lights Are on at Old St John’s” the album features TK distinctive instrumental reworkings of some of the artist’s favorite songs, including such enduring classics as “Spooky” Classics IV. On one song he combines Jr. Walker’s “(I’m A) Roadrunner,” with Steve Winwood’s “Roll with It,” Georgie Fame’s “Yeh Yeh” and the haunting Hollies ballad “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.” Manion also makes effective use of strings on new versions of the the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows” and the Ray Charles/Hoagy Carmichael favorite “Georgia On My Mind.”
Manion recorded “God Only Knows,” along with the pop standards “If” and “Smile” written by Charlie Chaplin in tribute to his Mom, who passed away in 2018. He wrote “The Lights Are on at Old St John’s, in honor of his great-grandfather Patrick Manion, an Irish immigrant who worked for the Central Railroad of New Jersey and built Old St John’s Church in Lakehurst, NJ. The song is also an ode to Old St. John’s, where Patrick is buried, along with much of Manion’s family. The house next to Old St John’s Church and Cemetery in Lakehurst, NJ is where Manion was born. Manion shares vocals on that track with noted singers Cindy Mizelle and Jessie Wagner and Lisa Lowell, veterans of Springsteen’s and Little Steven’s bands. The song also features mandolin by beloved Youngbloods member Lowell “Banana” Levinger.
“I started this project at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, and it kept me focused throughout,” Manion explains. “When the lockdown began, I was lost as to what to do to keep me playing and focused. Eventually I decided that the best thing I could do was to make a new album, and make it the best album I could..”
Manion recorded the self-produced Coastin' In with several of his Disciples of Soul bandmates, Jack Daley, Bass. Marc Ribler, Guitar, Rich Mercurio Drums, Andy Burton, Keys, as well as a set of talented Pittsburgh-based jazz/R&B players Clifford Barnes, B3 organ, Paul Thompson, acoustic bass, Rick Gallagher, piano,Thomas Wendt, drums and Mark Strickland, guitar.
Marc Ribler and Jack Daley mixed the enitre album at Dug Deep Studio in Asbury Park, NJ. He cut the album’s tracks at Shorefire Recording in Long Branch, NJ, and at Vault Recording in Pittsburgh, where he tapped the engineering talents of Joe DiMaio and Grammy-winner Jimmy Hoyson, respectively. Coastin’ In is being released on his new record label Kingfish Mars Records,LLC
“The most important things for me in recording an album of my own are getting my tone right and picking the right songs,” Manion states. “My process for selecting the cover songs was, I'd hear a favorite song that I hadn't heard in awhile in a Starbucks or somewhere on tour, and I’d think ‘Wow, that would make a great sax instrumental.’ I’d write song titles down on little pieces of paper and stick them in my wallet.And then when it was time to record, I pulled out all of these little pieces of paper and sorted through them to figure out what I was going to record. “
Coastin’ In showcases Manion’s trademark wide-open, R&B-inflected “Texas Tenor” sax-style.He gravitated towards that approach early in his musical life, drawing inspiration from his favorite jazz and R&B players
“That big ‘Texas Tenor’ sound always spoke to me,” he recalls, adding, “My early saxophone heroes were honkers and screamers like Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor , Red Prysock, Arnett Cobb, King Curtis, Jr Walker, and Stanley Turrentine. When I was learning to play, I would listen to versions of the same song by different sax players to see how all my heroes would each approach a particular song.”
Manion briefly studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, but received the bulk of his musical education working hands on with Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny performing and making music the old fashioned way. Manion’s rock ’n’ roll life has also encompassed his work with artists as diverse as the Robert Cray Band, Willy DeVille, Dave Edmunds, Diana Ross, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan Steve Cropper, Dion, Culture Club, Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Manics, The Misfits, the Allman Brothers Band, Darlene Love and Gary US Bonds
Manion also found time to step out and record his first solo album, Follow Through, in 2004, followed by 2015’s instrumental album Nightlife. The experience and expertise that he’s accumulated in his decades of musical adventures are further reflected in the soulful, organic confidence of Coastin’ In.
“The sound of the saxophone is something I have loved my entire life, and the quest for that sound is what keeps me going,” Manion states, adding, “Playing and recording music is as exciting to me now as it was when my Mom bought me my first sax at the age of ten. I’m so happy to still have the joy of music in my heart after a 50 year musical career. This album was a joy to record, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t want to stop, and I can’t wait to start recording another one.”
© 2015 by EDDIE MANION. MartyLeeDesigns.com