Things are beginning to blow up for Becca Mancari.
The East Nashville-based musician is known to those who keep an eye on the local scene as someone with hauntingly raw vocals and vulnerable lyrics. She is one-third of Bermuda Triangle, a local group that came together after a night of porch drinking and sells out venues both here and afar.
Mancari just released her first full-length album, Good Woman, which came out Oct. 6.
At first glance, all of Mancari’s strengths are on display. Her voice ranges in intensity, from softly dancing on the edges of the ear to bellowing full of heart and emotion.
One of the things that Mancari has made clear in promotion work for the release is how much the album was influenced by her journeys and travels that have taken her from New York to Florida, Virginia, India and more.
That might make it seem like the album is something akin to a musician potpourri, or maybe a stew, with all of the influences coming together to make something else. But that isn’t really the case, as the album maintains a vaguely country feel, tempo rising and falling as need be.
The album does have a sort of weariness to it, like a traveler arriving home after a long trip … in a good way.
It gives it a sense of credibility, and it makes Mancari seem more mature and experienced than she is.
Beyond her travels, one of the main influences on the album is Mancari’s sexuality.
None of the things she is singing about, like lost and forlorn love songs and the joys of Southern women, are different than anything you traditionally hear on this kind of album, other than that in this case they are being sung by a woman, about other women.
Mancari has a way of making her lyrics into something casually poetic, using metaphors and analogies to make a complex feeling like love (or something more simple, like seeing an attractive lady sing) feel like an act of nature.
This comes across on my favorite song on the album, “Summertime Mama,” one of the more upbeat songs on Good Woman.
“Summertime Mama / breaking me down/ wearing that dress girl, I’ve you seen you around / Summertime Mama / throwing me around / hot like the stones on the Tennessee ground.”
On the opposite end of the of the spectrum is the title track, which closes things out.
“Good Woman” finds Mancari at her most vulnerable, both from a musical and lyrical standpoint.
It is a very stripped down and quiet song, strumming an picking done by someone allowing the music and their fingertips to lead, not their brains.
As happens on several songs on the album, the lyrics are pretty barebones, just consisting of Mancari singing about different mothers, like one driving with a daughter on the highway, or another selling her papers, but it is the chorus that haunts: “But I pretend to be a good woman now.”
It is very fitting that this album was released in October. As the weather (slowly) starts to get colder and thing begin to slow down, it is nice to throw something on that matches that feeling.
That is what Good Woman is, an album that you can listen to while driving or working or while reading and listening to the rain.
I recommend that people give it a listen, especially if you are looking for something with a sense of authenticity or are looking for something a little more diverse than most of what the music world is offering these days.