Todd Mankin
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Todd Mankin

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Grief gave Todd Mankin kick start needed
Published by adminon April 17, 2008in Music.

From a garage to the stage across Texas and Oklahoma, Todd Mankin and his band are making their mark on the music scene.

Releasing their full-length debut album in early 2009, “June Time,” The Todd Mankin Band is well on the horizon of becoming the next to look for.

Only a few years before, the Lubbock-born and raised Mankin was on the road of a working business man.

While in Houston with no friends and not knowing anyone, Mankin picked up his old guitar and wrote his first song.

The 1972 Takamine guitar had gotten into the hands of Mankin by a simple trade for parts and labor, and had collected a little dust while sitting under his bed waiting for the right time to make an appearance.

“I never played before and never dreamt of playing,” he said. “But this huge Texas music thing was just getting started with people like Jack Ingram, Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green. It just started coming out more pen to paper and personal experiences.”

Mankin joked about an old friend’s advice: was if you were happy, you wouldn’t be able to write.

“It is true,” Mankin said. “It is like the whole stereotype with country music.”

His little brother, Jeff, had pushed and pushed for Mankin to start his own thing in music.

Mankin said his brother knew music is what he really wanted to do but never would go for it.

After Jeff died in a boating accident, Mankin decided to give music a try.

Now having the inspiration to carry on what his brother had pushed him to do beginning, Mankin signed up for a singer-songwriter competition and beat 18 participants.

His career started rolling; he opened for Bruce Robinson and found music was always in his blood; he just needed a little push.

“We started making contacts and took huge strides performing in Fort Worth, Lubbock, Wichita Falls to Oklahoma,” he said. “It is hard to categorize us because our blend of music is country, blues and Southern rock.”

Mankin doesn’t describe himself as an outlaw musician, but believes in what the old pioneers such as Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings had done to influence music.

“All of these guys and what they started and what they were passionate about, I want to carry forward,” he said. “It is too rare.”

A bold move by The Todd Mankin Band was to release the CD “June Time” before even a single hit the airwaves.

“It meant so much to us, I wanted to release it on my brothers birthday. It was literally taken off the press and went straight to the pre-release party Dec. 14."

“He only lived 23 years, and the thing I learned from my little brother was to do what makes you happy. Putting words on a piece of paper, turn it into a song that touches people lives, thats what we want to do."
- Natalie Johnson - Lubbock Avalanche Journal


Discography

On Feb 10, 2009 The Todd Mankin band released their freshman effort, debut CD titled "June Time".

The band has also been featured on 95.9 The Ranch in Fort Worth, TX, where they appeared on two of the station's artist spotlight shows and Chuck Taylor's Ranch Roadhouse live show from Billy Bobs.

Also, most recently they have been spotlighted on the TMTR Internet radio stations Texas Music Show, which is syndicated on 72 different AM/FM stations across the United States.

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Bio

At a very early age Todd Mankin could be found belting out his parents favorites like Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills, The Oak Ridge Boys, Buddy Holly and Willie Nelson. The son of an auto mechanics teacher and a stay at home mom, Todd still understood the power of music at an early age. He grew up in choir at school and singing at the Church of Christ that he attended. Many categorize Mankin as one of those artists that are simply natural born performers, but it is not wise limit him by category.

Todd Mankin was born in Lubbock, Texas and after his adolescent years and during High School he worked odd jobs in local auto shops and figured that he would follow his father’s footsteps and become some sort of mechanic. One day while working in the local Chevrolet dealership a friend of Todd’s father came in to have his pick up truck worked on. Todd knowing that the guy was a local musician seized this opportunity and traded some labor and parts for a 1972 Takamine guitar. He always had a love and deep passion for music, but never really saw himself writing, playing an instrument, or especially performing live in front of an audience. After High School Todd began listening to some of the Texas Music greats like Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, and was a huge Jack Ingram fan. In 2000, Todd moved to the Fort Worth area where he befriended a small running crowd of rabid "Texas Music" fans. After spending a year in the Fort Worth area Todd transferred to Houston, TX with the job that he was working at the time. It seemed though that anywhere he went that this "Texas Music" thing had really caught on and people everywhere were talking about it. Finally one day in late 2001, Mankin decided to pull out that old guitar that he had traded work for and learn a few chords from a Mel Bay book that a friend had loaned him. He picked up guitar fairly quickly and within about three months was playing at local open mic jams. After spending a little over a year in Houston, he packed up and headed back to Fort Worth, where he was a regular at all of the live Texas Music venues. Mankin befriended The Mike Mancy Band and before he knew it was on the road acting as a road manager and selling merchandise. This gave Mankin the opportunity to be in front of the “who’s who” in the Texas/Red Dirt scene and he found himself lost in the music, the life, and the ways of the road. Mankins younger brother, Jeff, also worked with bands such as Mike Mancy, Cooder Graw, Charlie Shafter and a few others before being tragically killed in a boating accident in June of 2005; and this is where Todd got his inspiration. His younger brother had many times pushed on him to start his own band. Jeff saw Todd’s passion for the music and the business and believed that he could do it, not just do it, but put his heart in it and soul into it and pour it out onto the people that would listen. Todd soon formed what was to be called Todd Mankin & El Guapo. The name stemmed from a nickname that Todd was given by the guys in the band Cooder Graw. It has since evolved to just plainly the Todd Mankin Band and they are electrifying audiences all over Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

From Bruce Springsteen to Johnny Cash, to Tom Petty and Kris Kristofferson, Mankin’s emerging style blends diverse elements of blues, country, and soulful rock into cohesive, vocal driven performances. His abilities earned the immediate respect of “up and coming” peers and other cohorts of the revitalizing Texas and Red Dirt circuits.

In 2009, both fans and industry took good notice of the Todd Mankin Band after they released ”June Time,” which was recorded and mixed in Dallas, TX. This is just the beginning, as the debut cement’s Mankin’s following with the single “The Sail”. The touring schedule is filling up and 2009 looks to be promising for the TMB as they plan to release yet another album titled "Broken" in late '09 or very early 2010!

The Todd Mankin Band now performs at top festivals and venues across Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma sharing bills with renowned acts like Bruce Robison, Cooder Graw, Kevin Fowler, Roger Creager, Tommy Alverson, The Bellamy Brothers, Reckless Kelly, Cory Morrow and others.

The Todd Mankin Band includes Matt Bashore (drums), Chris Kofnovec (bass), Chris Stuart (lead guitar, vocals) and Danny Najvar (pedal steel, mandolin, dobro, lead guitar); The TMB is poised for what is on the horizon to come.

The music is undeniably inside of these guys Mankin, but they are the type of artist that don’t have to point it out to you, their belief in the music is strong enough that it just powers through transparently and the passion, burning sincerity, and love of the music is evident when it overtakes you as a listener.

Stay tuned as the Todd Mankin Band journeys on sharing their "Music from Texas"....

Kevin "Rock" Williams - former DJ - 95.9 The Ranch/Cooder Graw