I'm sitting here writing this on May Day, but I'm stuck at work til 8 (ironically). Meanwhile, I'm fretting over how I'm going to make ends meet once my hours get cut in the summer so when "Rented Room" came on, I just about lost it. Pete's a few years older than me I think, but people my age are getting to the point where he's at -- feeling alienated, not to mention embarrassed and frustrated that we're in our 30s or older and aren't as financially or emotionally secure as we thought we would be, realizing that the postwar economy was a prolonged bubble that's never ever coming back. So I identify with Mancini's anxiety -- struggling to do what you live and trying to come up at least a little in the black. (See my Patreon page below.)
If you've been following the blog for a while then you're familiar with Pete's work -- he's the frontman for Butcher's Blind and will soon become Long Island's second favorite son (you know, behind that other singer songwriter.) Foothill Freeway is by far Mancini's strongest work yet and is earning him accolades from national outlets like NPR. I've always found it a bit incongruous that a kid from the suburbs (Jersey by way of Long Island, I believe) would write country music. While Foothill Freeway is populated with the usual cast of characters in a country album, the one-two punch of "Knowlton County Line" and the aforementioned "Rented Rooms" brought it home for me: the aimless drifting of grown men stuck at home, trying to find direction, still following the grooves that were well-worn in high school. The malaise is everywhere and has hit almost all of us -- except for the people at the tippy tippy top.
You can see Pete (and, by extension, me) at Rockwood Music Hall tonight at 8!
Pete Mancini -- Official, Purchase from Paradiddle Records, Bandcamp
See Patreon page here.