Pete Mancini would like to make it clear that his new single “My Hometown” is not about Bellerose.
“It may have started off that way,” says the singer-songwriter, who will debut that single and much of his upcoming “Flying First Class” (Diversion) album at his April 18 show at My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel. “But it became about something much bigger.”
After fans heard lines like “I’d rather be dead in the ground than drop roots in my hometown” and “The town of thoughts and prayers that go nowhere, crosses weigh you down,” one said, “Where is your hometown so I know never to go there?”
“It’s more about America as a whole and not wanting to accept the status quo,” Mancini says. “You hear about Ku Klux Klan flyers being passed out in Riverhead and I was just shocked by that. You don’t even think that could be possible any more. I think there’s a part of us that idealizes our surroundings into a Norman Rockwell kind of thing. But every place has good and bad. You have to be willing to make a change.”
Mancini is making some changes himself. He’s put together a full band, The Hillside Airmen, to perform the new album when he goes out on tour later this spring. “There’s nothing like getting up with the band and jamming,” he says. “It’s fun in a different way. And it’s definitely louder.”
Mancini has been making roots music for years, but on “Flying First Class,” he is trying out new sounds. “It’s a more diverse set of songs,” he says. “I’m so happy with how it came out. I feel like I’m writing and singing better than I ever have.”
The change has been noticed. After Mancini opened for Michael Glabicki at My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel, he made such an impression that the venue invited him to return as a headliner.
“It’s such a great room and (the club’s co-founder) Eppy’s such a cool dude,” Mancini says. “He told me, ‘Pick a night and pick some bands.’ So I had to pick (singer-songwriter Cassandra House) and Quarter Horse. They’re amazing artists and just real nice people. It’s going to be a great night.”
Pete Mancini & The Hillside Airmen play My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel, 1221 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, on April 18. Tickets are $20 through myfathersplace.com.