Jesse Manley has spent the past few years collaborating with Denver dance troupe Wonderbound. The Denver musician wrote music for five performances including "Dust," a piece on the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. His songs reflect the folk and Americana music of that time.

More from OpenAir Sessions:

Manley and his band went on to record the music of "Dust" as an album, which they released last week. Prior to the album release show, Manley performed three songs from the record in the CPR Performance Studio. He also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about his history with Wonderbound, playing the rare Weissenborn slide guitar and reading up on the Dust Bowl for his latest work.

Stream the session and watch Jesse Manley perform "Bring Me Home" above.

Interview highlights:

Manley on recording a studio version of songs written for live performance:

"It's a wonderful thing to have them dialed in when you go into the studio. So it's super easy. ... We do make some small changes because sometimes the stuff written for the shows is not how we would want to present them exactly."

On his fascination with the Dust Bowl era of American history:

"There were some really interesting, really crazy, weird things that happened. From the plagues, the swarms of locusts and rabbits. ... People thought the apocalypse had arrived. They thought it was the end of the world. It was a really strange and interesting time."

Songs performed:

  • "Bring Me Home"
  • "Eyes That Once Had Faith"
  • "The Hoedown"