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"Next time you hear an effective and affecting lyrics-first, narrative and nakedly personal songwriter like Billy Manas, just remember that this act of staying out of the way of the lyrics is a musical skill, not a literary one. Props where they are due." -John Burdick  Hudson Valley Almanac 

"Billy Manas has star power."  Woodstock Times


"Billy Manas is a very passionate guy who operates on many levels and all of this finds its way 
into his music." Poughkeepsie Journal

"You could say that Billy Manas gets straight to the point - his no-frills directness takes familiar songs and makes them his own - his locomotive acoustic guitar, exuberant harmonica, and road-worn voice are the touchstone of a seasoned troubadour."  Paul Higgins WKZE

Truck Stop Troubadour Volume 2- Gaining Traction 

I had a string of days last week where I had to be up at 3 AM to go to work, so immediately after I posted my first blog, I went to sleep (passed out).  I woke up the next morning--yes, at 3 am--and noticed that one person had liked, and I'll assume read my blog.  It happened to be my ex-girlfriend Eileen which I have no shame in admitting.  I think amiable relations with exes illustrate sanity and, frankly, I can use all the illustrations I can get.
The first thing I did after I got out of the shower and dried off was to post a status on Facebook that essentially said "Hooray!  Somebody read my blog!  Now I just need to get 4999 more people to do the same."
Contrary to what many people might think, I wasn't being a passive aggressive martyr, I wasn't being sarcastic and I do not take psychotropic drugs. I was merely following the belief system of a man named Frederick Smith. 
Frederick Smith founded FedEx.
Smith took every penny of his inheritance and purchased jets, trucks, jet fuel, hired employees, bought advertising and started his business.  As the legend goes, he delivered about thirty packages on his first day (ten of which he sent to himself as tests) .
At the end of that day, it is said that he mused  "well that turned out perfect!  Now I just need to get about 10,000 more packages a day and we're onto something."
His friends and associates told him he was crazy. "A few more days like that first one and you will be completely bankrupt ," they warned.
Successful people have a tendency to block out warnings from friends and unless you've been in a coma for the last twenty five years, you know how this all turned out.  And while I am in no way a fan of wealthy people with inheritances becoming even more wealthy, there is something to take away from all of this beyond that fact.
A lot of us are hard wired from childhood to try things when we have the energy to do so.  We then step back, assess the results and upon the realization that it is not instantly and wildly successful, we throw up our hands and either try something else or--worse still--just give up altogether.
I posted one of my new songs from "Back To Busking" on Friday and I woke up this morning and had ten "likes".  Now you may be thinking "Ten likes?  That's terrific but I'd hold off a little longer on trying to get a mortgage on that waterfront colonial", but allow me to put this in perspective for you.
"Back To Busking" was a relatively inexpensive release due to the fact that it was a solo acoustic record.
Ten likes is huge.
I recorded two records that were produced by Garrett Uhlenbrock and one that was mastered by Don Grossinger--really slick productions and they wouldn't get a single listen.
And it isn't just me.  I have heard some great local stuff on MK's Locally Grown show on WDST and I would go to the Facebook page and find a lot of it was being neglected.  One like, maybe two.  Maybe the guy who owned the studio shared it on his page but no real voluntary engagement.

So is this new ray of sunshine due to my new blog?
Is it my new found belief in myself and what I am doing?
Is it my pit bull persistence?

Yes. I think it is.

Truck Stop Troubadour- Volume 1: An Introduction 

It all began this past November when my friend Chris recommended a TED talk to me-Anthony Robbins discussing why it is we do the things we do.  (Actually it all really began when a family friend introduced me to David Bowie and Iggy Pop in 1980 when I was just about ten years old, but that's another blog for another time).  Okay, yes, Anthony Robbins. Well it wasn't my favorite TED talk in the world but what it managed to do was bring me back to 2001 when I first discovered Robbins.  I got my first car dealership job as a salesman and his CD collection was available for loan in the conference room.  I had an hour long commute everyday, so I listened incessantly to his stuff and actually applied some of it to my new occupation.  This is not a commercial for Tony Robbins but I DO have to admit that I outsold every salesman in my second month (25 cars!) and earned a brand new Jetta turbo as a demo and made more money than I ever had before.
I didn't really reach my potential because at the time I was smoking cigarettes, drinking and using drugs (but that's another blog for another time).  The cognitive dissonance was too much to bear and besides I wound up wrecking the Jetta one morning, one hitter still clutched in my hand when I landed and needless to say, it was all downhill from there.
By and by, I began to re-visit all that Robbins material on You Tube, and this time .things were different.  I had over five years clean, I was a non-smoker, a vegetarian and all the cognitive dissonance was gone.  The first audiobook I listened to, he posed the question, "what is it in this world that you want more than anything else?"  I let my thoughts roam free and the answer was so obvious.  If I could have anything in the entire world it would be to live off my music.  To support my family with my music.
A lofty goal indeed, but that Robbins material just kept driving the point home--over and over--anybody can achieve anything they want if they make the decision to do so.  And then he parsed the word "decision".  Decision, is in the same family as incision--to cut away all other possibilities.  The "decision" to accomplish this does not simply mean "I'm gonna really try to do this".  It means "I leave myself no other possibility.  It does not matter to me how long this takes to accomplish.  I will accomplish this."
So I began asking myself important questions.  The most important one was "How can I get more people to listen to my records?--How can I get anyone to listen to my records?"
I mean, look, I believe in what I am doing.  I never spent much of my precious time hoping that people would like my songs or my voice.  My gut always told me that they will like what I am doing if only I could get them to listen.
So here I am six or seven months later taking stock of the progress I've made so far.  I recorded a demo to get gigs and a whole album of original solo acoustic songs--both produced and engineered by Jazz great Jamie Saft.  I got some airplay and an interview on MK's radio show on Woodstock's WDST.  I played at a new winery and I am trying to get a gig at a third winery.  I'm taking an online class on internet music marketing.  I booked a show at a new venue and actually was able to get a full room because I mailed personal letters asking people to come.
With all of these cool precedents, I figured I should occupy my time driving an eighteen wheeler, stuck in traffic asking myself intelligent questions.  How can I get people to listen to my material without begging and pleading? It finally occurred to me:
A BLOG!!!
But not just any blog.  This one is going to have to be different.
First of all, I have a few friends that were blogging and the one thing they all had in common was they stopped after four or five posts. So the deal I've made with myself was that I need to work on a regular schedule with a deadline every week.
Secondly, I am not going to shove my music down people's throats.  The blog, by itself, needs to be entertaining.  Eventually the music will follow suit.  Right now, here at the beginning, I need to concentrate on being funny, intelligent, entertaining--whatever.  Just not boring.
And I hope to have all of you with me as I navigate through this new territory using the basic principles that always lead to success: persistence, perseverance, and creativity.
From here on in, all subsequent blog posts will come out on Monday mornings.  This one is special because it is the first. 

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