With modern day technology and voice-enhancing auto-tuning, it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to over-processed, catchy tunes. But when it comes down to it, a genuine, passionate artist is hard to come by. Take songwriting influenced by Cat Stevens and Phil Collins, add a hint of instrumentals like oldies-but-goodies Led Zepplin and The Police, and you may just find yourself listening to South Kingstown’s Brian Macinanti.
Born and raised in Woburn, Massachusetts, this singer, songwriter and studio guitarist, who goes by the nickname “Mance” – created by people’s constant mispronunciation of his last name plus “some pretty fancy pants [his] grandmother sent [him] off to school with one day... Mance with the fancy pants” – has had a passion for music ever since the first grade.
“I had a cousin who I used to visit... her much older brother was a guitar player and I used to hang out as long as I was allowed in his room and listen to him play,” says the passionate artist. “He could listen to almost any song and instantly play it. This was something I knew I wanted to be able to do.” After continuous jam sessions in his cousin’s room, it wasn’t long before Mance learned the basics, playing songs like “Stairway to Heaven” and “Black Dog.” After his first taste of the popular instrument, he purchased his first Mel Bay chord book and taught himself the rest. It wasn’t long before he was playing electric guitar with local bands, always making sure to carry his acoustic with him - his favorite kind of guitar.
Mance’s high school graduation in the early ‘90s followed with a schedule of upcoming gigs, further launching his career as a musician. His first show took place at Joyce’s Pub, now called Tara’s Tipperary Tavern, in Matunuck. At the time he was part of a local band called Revels’ Glen, one that played fun, lively Irish music. The gig gained him followers, allowing him to branch out and meet new people. And soon after this Mance met the woman of his dreams at Tara’s and tied the knot, relocating to South Kingstown where he currently lives today.
Mance now works as a solo artist and has found his voice – or voices – over time as an artist. “I have a few musical personalities I like to try on,” mentions the quirky musician. “Most of my influences come through in a riff here or a measure there, [but] it’s so much easier to market yourself if you have a solid comparison to make.” But despite his lack of a musical doppleganger, Mance’s originality continues to gain him followers. Each of his shows contain a mix of original songs with lyrics addressing the common problems we face as humans, the feelings of his past and cover songs by famous artists – singing songs that audiences don’t normally expect. “I’m not super flashy and I don’t do ‘Sweet Caroline’ or ‘American Pie’, but when you walk into a bar and hear me playing ‘Under Pressure,’ my hope is that you abandon your desire to hear those songs that every other acoustic guitar player on the planet already does,” says Mance.
Currently, Mance is working on a variety of projects with other bands, including one with a fiddle player from Brigid’s Cross, where he promises that “if the music we make in the studio is half as good as what we’ve done together live, people are in for a treat." He has even connected up with a writer, Bill McEleney, from his former band Revels’ Glen, working closely to gain inspiration and ideas for songwriting. This July, the two even paired up for a special show at Tara’s to bring the Irish music back into town.
The artist will be showcasing his musical abilities as the summer comes to a close at Tara’s on August 2. To entertain his followers – and even give a taste of his talent to those who are curious – Mance keeps his YouTube channel fresh and up-to-date. His most popular cover song, “Love to be Loved” by Peter Gabriel, is surely a unique choice that reflects who Mance is as an artist: original, entertaining and full of personality.