READSBORO >> Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment, Inc. presents Bruce Mandel in Concert, tonight at 7:30 p.m., in the E. J. Bullock Building, 7012 Main St., Readsboro
Bruce Mandel's acoustic guitar, keen lyrical ear, and intimate and honest voice have traveled with him across the country and through musical territory both new and familiar. Lyrically driven, the diverse sounds of his recordings straddle and expand the contemporary folk, Americana, singer/songwriter genres reflecting the breadth of Mandel's experience.
Growing up in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, rocking out to the Beatles and playing in bands, listeners familiar with the great singer-songwriters of the '60s and '70s won't be surprised to learn that at a young age Mandel happily absorbed the rich and varying styles of music played on the FM airwaves of the day. And later enjoyed the folksy coffeehouse scene followed by Rock and Top 40 bands playing New York City on down to Philadelphia and some of the New Jersey Shore's hottest spots.
Traversing the country Bruce took a break from the road and settled in Atlantic City for a time, working as an entertainment technician for the Entertainment Department at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino. While soaking up the experience of working alongside the likes of America, Ronnie Milsap, Tanya Tucker, Tom Jones, and The Temptations, Mandel stayed true to his calling, writing and producing his own songs.
After attending a songwriting convention in Durango, Colorado, in 1992, Mandel felt the pull of the area's open musical community and soon relocated there. The impulse proved a good one as he quickly became a true presence in his new home, opening in concert for nationally and regionally touring songwriters, as well as performing a mix of choice covers along with his growing repertoire of soulful originals in bars and saloons around the four corners.
Mandel's work in Durango culminated with his co-founding of the Annual Durango Songwriter's Expo in 1996. This popular event features listening sessions, showcases, seminars, panels, and networking opportunities that attracted new talent and high-profile musicians and industry experts alike, and continues to grow and spread to new locations around the country.
Mandel picked up his guitar and returned where he has settled deep into the artistic community of the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Produced and recorded in his own studio, his second and third albums "Between Dreams and Regrets" and "Sketches" traverse the musical and emotional ground between Colorado and the Berkshires. The lyrically driven songs are both personal and probing, whether Mandel is writing from his own experience or weaving the ballad of another's, as in "Irene Kibbe," about a young Polish emigrant during World War II.