Bruce Mandel

Bruce Mandel

 Otis, Massachusetts, USA
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Lyrically driven acoustic based music overlooking a diverse sonic landscape.

Biography

New CD coming summer 2012!
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. With the release of his latest CD, "Between Dreams and Regrets", Bruce adds fresh layers to the ground covered in his first, Follow Your Heart. After all, what lies between dreams and regrets but the gritty reality of our complex lives?
The diverse sounds of this latest CD—contemporary folk, Americana, a little bit of Bluegrass—reflect the breadth of Bruce’s experience.
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. While sometimes delicate, sparse, and reflective—as in “Winter Falls” with its gentle acoustic guitar and cello—Mandel’s sound is at other times full and layered, as he mixes the tones of the mandolin, accordion, clarinet, trombone, dobro, and cajón. Throughout this newest album, however, the acoustic guitar maintains its constant presence, as does Mandel’s warm voice and distinct style.
It began, as it did for so many, with The Beatles back when Motown still triumphed over marketing and FM stood for freedom in music. The sounds of '60s pop, and soul were the rocking soundtrack of his dreams as Bruce hungrily listened each night to the little red transistor radio his grandparents had given him.
Next came the great singer-songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s and Bruce absorbed the rich and varying styles of The Eagles, Paul Simon, Dan Fogelberg, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Jimmy Webb and Jackson Browne to pick out just a few.
All this time Mandel was honing his performance and listening skills.
Then with an opportunity to work as an Entertainment Technician for the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, Bruce learned the technical side of his musical profession. Soaking up the experience of working alongside the likes of America, Ronnie Milsap, Tanya Tucker, Tom Jones, and The Temptations, all the while staying true to his calling, writing and producing his own songs.
Eventually Mandel’s need to perform what he was writing took precedent and Bruce reprioritized his life with a move to Durango Colorado where he quickly became a true presence in his new home, opening in concert for nationally and regionally touring songwriters.
His work in Durango culminated with his co-founding of the Annual Durango Songwriter’s Expo in 1996. This popular event that features listening sessions, showcases, seminars, panels, and networking opportunities has attracted new talent and high-profile musicians and industry experts alike, and continues to grow and spread to new locations around the country.
Once again Bruce's heart called and he picked up his guitar and returned east early in the new century, to follow his heart and he has settled deep into the fertile artistic community of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.
In the summer of 2010 Mandel debuted a special song he wrote and recorded to help celebrate the Otis, Massachusetts BiCentennial with a special performance. Long a supporter of Public Libraries, Bruce is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD to The Free Otis Public Library.
Summer of 2011 found Bruce debuting SongSpark!, his Creativity/Songwriting Seminar.
Along with writing new material for his next couple of albums, including a children’s recording, Bruce finds the time as a bass player to support some of the Berkshire’s finest songwriters in the studio and on the stage.
Bruce has received multiple Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants and is a NEST eligible artist with The New England Foundation For The Arts.
“What happens when you dig down deep?” Mandel asks in “At the End of the Day.” Perhaps Between Dreams and Regrets, a musical expression of life’s varied landscape, is itself as good an answer as any.

Lyrics

You Said Yes

Written By: Bruce Mandel

I love the way you stand out in a crowd.
The way you throw your head back when you laugh out loud.
The way you move, like waves against the shore.
Every time I look at you I want you more.


When I think of everything I love about you,
I know that I have truly been blessed. But most of all, what I love the best, When I asked you to spend your life with me, you said yes.

I love you wearing blue jeans, love you in a skirt.
I love it when we dress up, then go out and flirt.
I love the way you hold my head in your hands
And tell me my dreams should all be plans.

When I think of everything I love about you,
I know that I have truly been blessed. But most of all, what I love the best, When I asked you to spend your life with me, you said yes.


These may be things you don't think about.
Might be things you don't see. But like having you in my life, They make the difference to me.

I love your wisdom and all you see. I love the way you support the child in me.
I love the way your smile returns after a good cry,
And the way you say, "See you later", instead of good-bye.

When I think of everything I love about you,
I know that I have truly been blessed. But most of all, what I love the best, When I asked you to spend your life with me, you said yes.

Irene Kibbe

Written By: Bruce Mandel

I was born in Krakow, Poland, 1929.
In the shadow of the Tatra Mountains. Thick with the scent of pine.
Nazis took my father, Josef, a railroad engineer.
Drug him cross the floorboards through the doorway. Filled our hearts with Third Reich fear.
Two years later in July, mama was ordered to pack.
Sewed her jewels inside my sweater, and said, "Quick, muddy it up out back."
Herded by train to a slave labor camp deep in Germany.
Mama worked day and night for years in the camps infirmary.

My name is Irene Kibbe, assistant to a surgical nurse.
I've lived long and lucky. It's been a blessing and a curse.
I've seen things others never will when I was so very young.
I've seen what can be gained and lost with a bomb and gun.
My name is Irene Kibbe. My mama was that nurse.
Look back with me upon my life. Things could have been much worse.

German soldiers from the Russian front, Iron Crosses couldn't hide their fright,
Lost many an ear, nose and limb to gangrene and frost bite.
When she heard what they had planned for her kids, Mama told the commandant double-quick,
"Take my children and I'll be dead by morning. A shard of glass should do the trick."
So I helped Mama with the bandages and the bed pans best I could.
We kept our faith, we said our prayers and hoped God understood.
Then one morning we saw red clouds of dust, American jeeps and tanks.
Liberation Day they called it. We called it a day for thanks.

(repeat 1st chorus)

Mamas' jewelry took us to America on the S.S. Langfitt in '49.
Twelve hundred emigrants and soldiers, whose' live had come to twine.
We entered the New York Harbor, skyscrapers lit like Christmas trees.
I watched tears sparkle on every face lit by the Statue of Liberty.
As I stood and shivered at the bow, a kind man gave his coat to me.
Turns out he had been a G.I., who’d landed at Normandy.
There was a name tag on that P-coat I can still clearly see.
It told me that this handsome man's name was John Kibbe.

My name is Irene Kibbe, assistant to a surgical nurse.
I've lived long and lucky. It's been a blessing and a curse.
I've seen things others never will when I was so very young.
I've seen what can be lost and gained with a bomb and gun.
My name is Irene Kibbe. My mama was that nurse.
Look back with me upon my life. Things could have been much worse.
Now my time has come and gone. Life could have been much worse.
My eyes are heavy as sunset. End of story, chapter and verse.

Summer Rain

Written By: Bruce Mandel

We used to go out walking down that old farm road.
Holding hands like we'd never let go.
Telling stories and dreaming out loud.
Making promises and feeling proud.
So look at us baby. How did we get here?
All this anger fueled by fear.

I don't want a life of used to be’s and could've beens.
I won't dwell on lost moments bound in chain.
I’m gonna turn back my anger since I can't turn back time.
I want to be free like a child dancing in the summer rain.

We used to be able to talk about anything.
So why now do words sting?
Life has thrown us more than our fair share
Of things for which we could not prepare.
I've heard it told, though easier said than done,
You can do anything when you love someone.

I don't want a life of used to be’s and could've beens.
I won't dwell on lost moments bound in chain.
I’m gonna turn back my anger since I can't turn back time.
I want to be free like a child dancing in the summer rain.

I've cried me a river, now it's pulling me in.
I can't fight it, I can't swim
Let it wash over me, cleanse me and then,
Spit me out and let me try again.

So come on darlin' let's find that old farm road.
Take my hand I won't let go.
Let's make a new promise, keep an old vow.
'Cause all we've got is here and now.

I don't want a life of used to be’s and could've beens.
I won't dwell on lost moments bound in chain.
I’m gonna turn back my anger since I can't turn back time.
I want to be free like a child dancing in the summer rain.

Stomp around in a puddle
Soaked to my knees
And free like a child dancing in the Summer Rain

This Message

Written By: Bruce Mandel/Steve Boynton

Hey, it's me. I'm at the restaurant phone. I couldn't wait I had to call.
My heart needs to speak my mind but my mind puts up this wall.
You look beautiful tonight, I must say. Candlelight dancing round your face.
You take a sip of your water and put my napkin in its’ place.

Let this message say what I can't say.
My heart has never felt this way.
I couldn't bear to see your face, just in case you don't agree.
So let this message do the speaking for me.

I listen to the flutter of cupids' wings, and only hope I pass his test.
To the table I'll return, once love's flame burns away this tightness in my chest.
Then we'll drink a toast to all our dreams, so they'll come true in every way.
Or will this message be the toast I can't bring myself to say?

Let this message say what I can't say.
My heart has never felt this way.
I couldn't bear to see your face, just in case you don't agree.
So let this message do the speaking for me.

In the past I've spoken from my heart too fast.
Other times I wait too long and the moment doesn't last.
If I could hold your hand, conquer my fear, whisper to you my plans
If I could find my nerve, find my way, get lost in your eyes and say...

I’ve got this ring in my pocket. It’s burning a hole. Rehearsed my lines and brought you here.
My heart needs to speak my mind but I think I need more beer.
I could press “one” to review this message, or number “two” if it's okay.
Number “three” will erase it so I can try another day.

Let this message say what I can't say.
My heart has never felt this way.
I couldn't bear to see your face, just in case you don't agree.
So let this message do the speaking for me.

Winter Falls

Written By: Bruce Mandel

Winter falls in the San Juan Mountains.
A harvest moon has silently spilled.
My head falls on what was your pillow.
Dreams of emptiness, can't shake this chill.
You left with no discussion. Just a note, two words, good-bye.
The love you scratched across my heart…nothing but a lie.

Winter falls. The trees have no leaves on.
Slipped right past autumns' guard.
A broken heart knows no season.
And like me, this year winter falls hard.

Spring will bring the wisdom it wasn't me.
Summer might even find me in love.
The autumn stage will not darken for the ghost of you, lover.
Ah, but for now, I'll hide and heal 'neath these covers.

Winter falls. The trees have no leaves on.
Slipped right past autumns' guard.
A broken heart knows no season.
And like me, this year winter falls hard.


Winter falls in the San Juan Mountains.
Guess I'll hole up and wait it out.
Darkness falls all around me.
You will find me hiding in shadows of doubt.
In my mind I have discussions of what might have been said.
The love you scratched across my heart…black instead of red.

Winter falls. The trees have no leaves on.
Slipped right past autumns' guard.
A broken heart knows no season.
And like me, this year winter falls hard.
My broken heart knows no season.
And like me, this year winter falls hard.

Pretty Good Place

Written By: Bruce Mandel

I’ve got a six-string hung over my shoulder like a pack.
Taking the place of the burdens I used to carry on my back.
Home in New England with a smile high on my face.
Yeah, I'm in a pretty good place.

(chorus) Let's dance to the turning of the seasons.
Let the phases of the moon set the pace.
You may think I'm grinning for no reason at all.
But you see, I'm in a pretty good place.

Gonna carve our names in the tree of life where love begins.
And time will be the stream in which we'll do our fishing in.
With your hand in mine and our dreams to embrace,
Yeah, we're in a pretty good place.

(chorus)

(bridge) No more sweating the small stuff.
No more doubt.
Don't need much.
Won't be without.

(chorus)

Make Time

Written By: Bruce Mandel

Julie sat down at the edge of the pond
Where she dreamed as a young girl, of a life beyond.
She wondered when last she had walked this wood
And saw nothing but beauty, and all that was good
Felt the rhythm of nature, heard the call of the wild,
Through the eyes of the innocent, with the awe of a child.

And she takes a deep breath,
Stops and looks around her.
Remembers the melody of a little girl's song,
And sings along as a reminder.

(chorus) See the light filter through the trees,
The Red Tail perched above.
Tend to the garden, hear the buzz of the bees,
And always make time for love.

Adolescence, college and men came and went.
Julie stayed focused on the assent.
She plotted and she planned with unswerving control.
Goal after goal executing life with out parole.
No rhythm to nature. No call of the wild.
No time for innocence. No time for the child.

And she takes a deep breath,
Stops and looks around her.
Remembers the melody of a little girl's song,
And sings along as a reminder.

(chorus)

(bridge) Faster and faster, a quickening pace,
Wrinkles of life etched their lines in her face.
It's funny how life can slip through your hands.
Keeps on moving while you're busy with other plans.

Julie sits down on the edge of her bed
Tries to sort through life's dramas that age in her head.
She wonders about some things. Some things she forgets.
Must have grown old somewhere between dreams and regrets.
She feels the rhythm of nature. Hears the call of the wild.
Through the eyes of the innocent, with the awe of a child.

And she takes a deep breath,
Stops and looks around her.
Somewhere a melody plays far away.
Julie hears a little girl singing a song.
So she sings along and it's a reminder.

(chorus)

At the End of the Day

Written By: Bruce Mandel

At the end of the day as the light pales,
You think about your life but your memory fails.
You read like a book in the top ten
Called, "If I had only tried that.... what then?”

At the end of the day as the sun disappears,
Your demons come out, feed on your fears.
Fear of failure?. Fear of success?
All you do is second guess?

What happens when you dig down deep?
Do you see it through?
Or when you wake up
Do your dreams wake up too?

At the end of the day when you turn down your bed,
Do you say a prayer or leave it unsaid?
When the clock runs out and the game has been played,
Can you live with these decisions you've made?
At the end of the day.

Don't sit there and wait for life
To happen to you.
You’ve got to wake up,
And your dreams will come true

At the end of the day when the sun sets,
It's all about love. Hearts don't forget.
You've got to believe your time will come.
You've got to stand tough not run.
At the end of the day.

Stuck In a Funk That Has No Groove

Written By: Bruce Mandel

Another day, he can't get past the coffeepot.
Can't come up with a reason to so he figures he might as well not.
Spends his time in isolation, locked behind open doors.
Where fun, as a concept, eludes him. Like love and desire, anymore.
His cup doesn't runneth over and the pitcher won't pour.
He's stuck in a funk that has no groove.

(chorus) Every minute has got another let down in it.
Stuck in a funk that has no groove.
All that's left is the dust of desire.
Stuck in a funk that has no groove.

The morning sun is promising a beautiful day.
But no matter how brightly it shines, his heart is dark, he's lost his way.
He used to know where he was going. He used to have a plan.
But after a succession of set backs, He no longer thinks he can...
Be who he thought he was, that bright optimistic man.
He's stuck in a funk that has no groove.

(chorus)

Used to be doors number one, two and three all held the grand prize.
Now he's down to only two choices, and he doesn't care, he wants to die.
For without that youthful hunger there is no will to try.
He's stuck in a funk that has no groove.

(chorus)

Daddy's Eyes

Written By: Bruce Mandel

Daddy’s Eyes (Bruce Mandel) Raging Waters Music (SESAC)

I've got questions that will go unanswered,
Only because I never asked.
Things I've wished we had talked about, Dad.
Opinions and viewpoints you may have had.
Like what would you think of my music?
There's so much you didn't hear.
And those things fathers and sons talk about
On a long drive, or over a beer.

(chorus) Sometimes, I look to the sky, and it seems like I'm looking through my Daddy's eyes.
And the wisdom of the world is laid bare there for me.
My heart opens wide, I can feel it inside, and life makes a little more sense.
I gain a little strength, then I realize, I'm looking through my Daddy's eyes.

You know I think you'd like this house I've built,
And the way I followed my heart,
To the sweet air of Colorado
And this life that I have come to know.
Playing music in the mountains, and it suits me fine.
There's no place I'd rather grow old.
360º leaves me breathless.
I have found my pot of gold.

(chorus)

Dad, there's plenty you taught me
With your words and the way you lived.
And I guess I taught you a thing or two,
I've learned that's something kids can do.
But there's one thing I never got to tell you,
As I didn't see the end.
I know I said that I loved you,
But did you know you were my friend?

(chorus)

Discography

"Here's To Otis(1810-2010) - Special BiCentennial Celebration Single
"Between Dreams and Regrets" - CD
"Follow Your Heart" - CD

Set List

Can't really say that there is a typical Bruce Mandel Set-List. Every set will have tunes from all of Bruce's recordings along with perhaps new and unrecorded songs mixed in. Bruce may even include one or more of his childrens tunes. Each performance/audience presents itself as unique!