Exclusive AUK Mini-Gig: Pete Mancini

Photo credit: Kitty Williams

The lockdown is over and people are once again buying tickets to see live music, although with record-setting inflation in America, the UK and Europe, some venues are not selling as many tickets as in pre-pandemic times. Mini-gigs were a way of offering live music during those stressful times. After a hiatus, the mini-gigs are back and you can expect to see various musicians providing entertaining videos exclusively to share with AUK’s audience. Better yet, admission is free.

Many of these sets will be solo acoustic, simply musicians and their instruments extracting the essentials of the songs. NYC-based singer/songwriter Pete Mancini recorded his contribution from Commonwealth Studio in Bellerose, New York. He plays three of his compositions on a Recording King parlor guitar. (Parlor guitars are named after the rooms in which the guitar was typically played in the late 19th century). The appealing melodies are fortified by perceptive observations and keen insight into the world and social mores.

The first song in the set is new and will be the title song to Mancini’s upcoming fourth album, to be released later this year. ‘American Equator’ concerns the sharp ideological divide that separates Americans into one camp or another, as late-night host Greg Gutfeld terms, “…the prison of two ideas.” Mancini explains: “If the ideological divide in this country was a physical place you could visit, it would be the American Equator. Buckle up, you can’t get off of this ride.” His guitar strumming is augmented by tasty harmonica bursts in both this song and the second, ‘Madison Avenue Blues,’ which is off Mancini’s 2022 album on Paradiddle Records, ‘Killing the Old Ways,’ produced by Drive-By Truckers’ bass player, Mike Patton and reviewed here. Mancini noted: “This song was inspired by a job I had in a part of the city I didn’t belong in. I don’t work on Madison Avenue anymore but I got this song out of the whole ordeal. If I had to pick my favourite recording from my whole career, the studio version from Dial Back Sound would be it.” As in the smash hit TV series ‘Mad Men,’ the song explores the theme that it’s all about the money. The terror of the 911 attack has faded from memory, “Every year they read the names / Then it’s back to work, there’s money to be made.” Mancini closes the mini-gig with ‘Golden Hour’ from ‘The Commonwealth Sessions, volume 1,’ the EP he recorded in 2023. “This song was left over from the writing block for my upcoming album, and I couldn’t let go of it. It found a home on the Commonwealth Sessions EP and ended up being the single. Thanks to my friend/recording guru Nick Messitte for encouraging me to go full band on this one.”

The EP’s stark album cover pictures the house where Pete grew up in Bellerose, NY (the Queens side) and he remains in the area. Mancini has opened some shows by the composer and singer Jimmy Webb, who he also works for as an assistant and tour manager when he’s not recording or touring himself. He tours both solo and with his band, The Hillside Airmen. Dates are on his website while CDs and digital music can be found on his Bandcamp page.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Pete Mancini

Thanks for having me!

Larry White

Awesome interview!