Written by Hunter Baxter

Manny Blu returns with his sophomore album, New Ink, and brings a new heavy hitting, rock infused, soulful sound. Through the five songs on New Ink the Montreal native paints a picture of the highs love brings and the lows that come with loss and heartbreak. The album features prominent song writers Josh Osborne, Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman, and Adam Sanders, and is produced by Aaron Eshuis.

Back in May, we got the chance to talk with Blu on the podcast about this new album. One of the unique things about it is the title, and the fact that it isn’t also the title of one for the tracks. He said, “I told my team straight up that I don’t like title tracks. I think it’s confusing– I like the album to have a name, all the singles to have a name, and the rest of the songs to have a name. We work so hard on it. It’s a collective album of songs, ideas, feelings, vibes, whatever you were in that moment. I believe it deserves its own name.” 

New Ink definitely echoes this comment– each song makes you feel something different, but they all flow together to become one piece of work. On the album title itself, Blu explained that during quarantine he had opened up his musical mind to 80s rock and had been listening to lots of Areosmith, Motley Crue, and Guns N’ Roses. Motley Crue has an album called New Tattoo. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Manny Blu, you’ll notice that he’s a big fan of tattoos. Going off of his love of tattoos and the Motley Crue album, he came up with the name New Ink. 

Blu said, “It’s a new style, new songs, so it’s got a double meaning there, which I think is really cool.”  We joked about it on the podcast that he gave us a Tailgate Country exclusive with the album title, and as it turns out it was. 

The album leads off with the song Burnout Town (Chris DeStefano, Josh Osborne, JT Harding). Burnout Town paints the picture of a fast, hot, and heavy love affair. Next comes the song, Sink (Osborne, Matt Jenkins, Ryan Tyndell), which is quite literally about a relationship going down the sink. It features a unique upbeat tone that sets it apart from similar breakup songs. After Sink, the album takes you into the first single released off New Ink, called Born To Ride (Osborne, Rhett Akins, Ross Copperman). It’s about finally finding that meant-to-be, ride-or-die girl who sticks around after all the up and downs a musician faces. 

Next up is Ain’t Got You (Adam Sanders, Mark Nesler). Ain’t Got You may be one for the most cleverly written songs on the album. It features a cunning play on words, “Now I ain’t got you because I drink the way I do, out every night up on a stool, yeah it might be true, but I drink the way I do because I ain’t got you.” The fifth and final song on the album is called, Old Money (Aaron Eshuis, Brandon Lay, Neil Medley), which describes love as old money– strong, rich, and never ending. 

Overall, this is a very strong sophomore album from Manny Blu. He uses his gravelly voice to his advantage to put his own spin on each song. The loud guitars and perfectly timed drum beats create a production unlike anyone else in the country music scene. 

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