Mando Saenz

Mando Saenz



Mando Saenz has made a career out of watching people, haunting places, and asking questions. Studebaker, his third studio album released June 4, 2013 by Carnival Recording Company, is propelled by his self-deprecating wit, careful observation, and empathetic ability to make heroes out of outcasts. 

Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Bobby Bare, Jr., Andrew Bird) produced Studebaker in 
his home studio, Beech House Recording, in Nashville during sessions that began late last fall and ran into early 2013. Nevers and Saenz assembled an ace cast of players, including Kenny Vaughan, Pete Finney, Jedd Hughes, Kim Richey, and Bobby Bare, Jr. 

Dabbling in pointed folk, hushed pop, honky tonk, and rock-and-roll, Studebaker 
combines the acoustic pensiveness of 2005’s Watertown and the full-bodied bravado of 2008’s Bucket. Saenz’s tenor, which has always been arresting, has assumed a full, rich timbre that can still deliver lines delicately, but can also howl like a freight train.“I’ve been happy, I’ve been sad, I’ve been lucky, I’ve been unlucky. I’ve been spoiled, and I’ve also been whatever the opposite of spoiled is,” Saenz says. “Maybe I’m just getting to the age where I feel more comfortable talking, indirectly, about what I’ve been through.”As he snarls, “Where’s my Studebaker / I’m nobody’s pocket change” in new album track “Pocket Change,” it’s clear that Saenz is not only comfortable, he’s enjoying himself.

“I’ve been playing ‘Pocket Change’ for a few years now,” he 
says. “The song has gone over so well live. One of the reasons I decided to call the album ‘Studebaker’ is people ask at shows, ‘Hey, what album is that “Studebaker” song on?’” “Breakaway Speed,” co-written with Richey and featuring her harmonies, beautifully chronicles a breakup with a toe-tapping pop melody. Fiddle in tow, “Tall Grass” swings through a classic boy-begs-girl-for-a-chance storyline, with a twist. “Colorado” is an elaborate narrative that transports listeners to John Ford’s West. “Hard Time in Tennessee” is a character-defining list of things the hero wishes he could do, but just can’t. “Nobody” and “Battle Scar” grapple in different ways with the concept of identity, while “Sweet Marie” and “Smiles at the Door” are tender love songs. “The only time I speak out is when I sing,” Saenz says. “I am more comfortable musically now, but in a lot of other ways, too. Maybe that comes through in the songs.”


Watertown, Carnival Recording Company 2005
Bucket, Carnival Recording Company, 2008

Studebaker, Carnival Recording Company, 2013

Set List

All Original Material. Most sets 30-60 minutes.