A good host never runs out of booze, so guests are in good hands at Service Brewing’s big bash at their Indian Street HQ. For three years, Savannah’s enjoyed heady pours and small batch specials from the local craft brewers, and the fabulous Service team is throwing a shindig to celebrate its successes.
Get ready to enjoy a special wheatwhine beer, brewed with vanilla bean, milk sugar, and over 500 pounds of Savannah Bee Company wildflower honey delicious pies from Big Bon Pizza, and live music.
Savannah’s own DJ Jose Ray will start spinning at 4 p.m., with Becca Mancari following at 7:30 p.m. and Roadkill Ghost Choir at 9:30 p.m. Savannah’s been digging Roadkill Ghost Choir’s Americana-steeped rock sound for years, and fans are thrilled for the return of singer-songwriter Mancari and her band.
With a rich voice, captivating lyricism, and a sound that turns roots music on its head with modern underpinnings and subtly experimental sensibilities, Mancari has the music world wrapped around her finger—and she hasn’t even released an album.
The Nashville-based musician is gearing up to release her debut LP, Good Woman, in October. She also just debuted a new project, Bermuda Triangle, with friends Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Nashville songwriter Jesse Lafser.
We talked with Mancari about the hard work she’s poured into Good Woman, the music she grew up with, and her adoration of Savannah.
So, Wednesday night was huge! How’d the Bermuda Triangle debut go?
It was amazing. It’s one of those things where honestly we are just truly are just really good friends, and who knows. There’s no plans for now—our only plan is to have fun and enjoy it.
How long have you been working on Good Woman?
This has been like a true labor of love. I think it’s a perfect time, and even some of the road blocks we’ve had, down to having to scrape up time to get into the recording studio, figuring out schedules—it’s become the perfect time. We’re ready, and the first single is coming out next Friday, July 21, “Arizona Fire.”
Why did you choose that song for the first single?
I think it’s a little bit of a curveball. The record has a lot of different emotions, and a lot of the way it goes is like a little wave. We’re starting the record with that song, too—we felt the emotion was important to start it that way then go into a lighter song for the next one. We’re serious about you joining me in this emotional song.
In putting the record together, did you approach it thematically, is it a collection of songs from over the years...?
It’s a little bit of both. Some of the songs have been with me for a while, and some have come through getting ready for this [album].
Even the title track, “Good Woman”...we were putting this record together and I sent that song as a voice memo to my manager. He had never heard it before and said, “This is it, Becca. This is what we should call the record, even!”It’s the last song on the album...I think this is a song a lot of people are going to respond to in a familiar way.
Did you consider a lot of these songs complete before hitting the studio or was there a lot of tinkering once you got in there?
Kyle Ryan, who did my record, is Kacey Musgraves’ band leader and an incredible artist in his own right. He was basically another member in this band—he’s incredible! If people who hear this record aren’t tearing his door down to get to him... [Laughs]. He's magical. And he and I, we spent, I'd say, countless hours together in the studio working these songs.
I wrote most of these by myself, but my band is such a big part of what I do, and their involvement is all over this record. All the songs are recorded by my live band; there’s no hired guns. They’re all my friends and people I work with.
You’re a Nashville transplant. Your sound has its traditional elements, but it really pushes at the edges of that. What’s it like developing a sound in a town that is known for such a steeped country tradition?
It’s very hard if you want to branch out from a certain sound; even the language people use to describe you. That’s been a hard thing for me.
I have found that I always say to people who call me country musician, “Listen, I love old country and honestly, I’m just not good enough to play old country music.” I think, “Good God! Good luck trying to be a Loretta Lynn or Hank Williams. I don’t wanna be either."
That’s been really important to me: for us to find our own way. I think my favorite artist and writers, they’re always pushing the boundaries. Neil Young is one of my favorites; he always pushed, even if it wasn’t great, it was, “This is what I’m doing. Get on board.”
Same way with what we’re doing. We’re going to play steel like it’s a space instrument. That’s what we all agreed upon. It’s a little bit hard, but it’s also exciting, because I think we do stand out in a town like this.
I read that your first CD was by Jennifer Knapp—I’d totally forgotten about her! Did you grow up on a lot of contemporary Christian music?
My folks are ministers, so I grew up in a very pretty intense, conservative home. For me, I knew what I liked already and I found that, I guess, through Jennifer Knapp. She’s an exceptional writer, and the first record blew my mind in a way I didn’t know music could be written. Her voice and the way she sang, to me, made sense, because she didn’t sing like other girls. I feel like a lot of women unfortunately have been sold an idea of having “a sound,” and the sound when I heard her sing—that’s her sound, to me. That's what spoke to me. So I did grow up on that, but my dad loved the Beatles, too.
Besides the album release, what are you looking forward to in the near future?
We’re doing a lot of touring, and I’m really excited about that. We’ll be back with Hurray For the Riff Raff and down to the Bragg Jam. We’re just excited to continue to release singles be on the road and we’re going to have a big ol’ party!
Y’all stopped by Service Brewing last time you were here, right?
Yeah! We went through there, they were releasing a new brew.
We played with Susto in Savannah and it was one of my favorite shows. I just want Savannah folks to know: If you want me to be one of your girls, I wanna be one of your girls! I love that scene. It’s one my favorite places to go; I almost wish I could move there. We are team Savannah!