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Music Review - `Flying First Class` by Pete Mancini (jh)

Pete Mancini  - Flying First Class (click on image to watch video)

01 July 2019 


This is the third full-length solo effort for the former frontman and primary songwriter of the NYC rock band Butchers Blind, Pete Mancini. He has also released a live EP, Alive in Patchogue. Yes, you might never guess from listening to his Eagles/Jackson Browne sound that he hails from Long Island. Currently. he is touring with his band, the Hillside Airmen, named either appropriately or coincidentally for the title of this recording, Flying First Class.

The album covers several stylistic styles besides the aforementioned Eagles/Browne that we hear in the first two tracks, the weary “Pine Box Derby” and the deceptively sorrowful “My Hometown.” There’s punchy roots rock in “Cease and Desist,” upbeat country in “DUI Blues,” shades of punk in “SLA Check,” rockabilly in the title track and even bluegrass in the middle of the disc with “Back in Bakersfield.” Mancini has numerous musical collaborators helping him traverse his tales of modern American life. The tempos and choruses often belie lyrics full of angst and downtrodden characters. Mancini is one of those under-the-radar singer-songwriters that deserves wider recognition as he can stand alongside many that draw far more acclaim. He’s certainly trying, having released three of these tunes as singles already (“Pine Box Derby,” “DUI Blues,” and “My Hometown’) and aggressively touring. 

Immediately “Pine Box Derby”,”  which flows buoyantly, invites the listener to examine innocence long forgotten in favor of the realities of grown-up life. He announces that his mission is rather serious, certainly not fluffy. “My Hometown” brings sadness to even a deeper level. He comments,  "I was writing yet another song about where I grew up, but quickly realized it was about something bigger. My hometown (Bellerose, New York) is located on the border of Queens and Nassau, stuck between the progressive and diverse counties of NYC and the more conservative parts of Long Island. It's an interesting dynamic. I believe what happens in one town happens in every town, both the good and bad. We tend to romantically view our society as an idyllic Norman Rockwell painting in retrospect but there is some darkness lurking under the surface; drugs, crime, racism. To me, this song is about not wanting to accept or surrender to the status quo that is life in America these days."

The most recent song to premiere is  “Back in Bakersfield” with Pete Mancini on vocals, acoustic guitar, and bass, with Nashville’s Buddy Woodward on mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitar, Jenny Obert on fiddle and Mick Hargreaves on harmony vocals. It’s the story of a homeless veteran, sadly not an uncommon situation these days. He follows with the Beatlesque “Casino Lights,” featuring a slide part reminiscent of George Harrison.  That leads into the rockabilly title track – three completely different styles inarguably, the best three-song sequence on a consistently strong album.

Mancini proves to be the essence of Americana, purveying folk, rock, bluegrass, pop, and rockabilly – all sung clearly and honestly. Mancini is no newcomer but perhaps this is his breakout opportunity. He certainly deserves it.



Jim Hynes



Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here




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