Between Dreams & Regrets
"Reminiscent of the singer/songwriters who penned the soundtrack of the '60s and '70s, Bruce Mandel brews up a coffeehouse sound that's espresso rich in inspiration and experience. While primarily an acoustic player, he's not married to that sound. As he demonstrates on this CD, there are times when a grinding electric bass line is essential. As a vocalist, Bruce comes across as smooth, comfortable and quite likable. As songwriter, he's a storyteller. Aptly named, Between Dreams and Regrets, is an enjoyable compilation of thoughts, memories and visions. The track we selected, "This Message" (featuring Bruce accompanied only by Adam Michael Rothberg on piano) spotlights Bruce's interesting writing style and effortless vocals." - Singer & Musician Magazine December 2008 on "Between Dreams and Regrets" 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 second CD, Between Dreams and Regrets, Mandel 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 his new CD-contemporary folk, Americana, bluegrass, folk rock-reflect the breadth of Mandel's experience. He grew 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 The Eagles, Dan Fogelberg, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, The Motown writers, and Jackson Browne. After college and many a warmly received performance in the folksy coffeehouse scene, Mandel did what most musicians do sooner or later and headed to the city-New York, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City opened their arms wide as he hit the road with Top 40 bands, honing his technique and his ear. He settled in Atlantic City for a time, taking the chance to work 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, and performing a mix of covers as well as his growing repertoire of soulful originals. 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. Mandel picked up his guitar and returned east in 2001, where he has settled deep into the artistic community of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Produced and recorded in his own studio, Between Dreams and Regrets traverses 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. While sometimes delicate, sparse, and reflective-as in "Winter Falls" with it's 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 it's constant presence, as does Mandel's warm voice and distinct style. "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.