Music, Friends at Manci's

March 2, 2018

In some ways it was a bit of a homecoming that night as we walked into a familiar venue. Manci’s Antique Club on Main St in Daphne, Alabama is unique in many ways and its history is big in the memories of those who knew it in years past. This place has existed for my entire lifetime but it changed hands a few years ago as John Thompson and Harry Johnson partnered up to rescue it and revive this absolute legend of a place. Thankfully they held on to the quirkiness of its decor. The same seating of booths lining the walls and a few tables to give people a choice. Also the long bar that fills the adjoining space is always busy with people trying to relax after a work day or just yearning to get away and enjoy the company of others. Antique pictures, bottles, horse shoes, guns, plow parts and a huge assortment of things line the shelves all around the main rooms. There are quirky light fixtures made of welded metal from horse shoes, branding irons, etc. making it look like a cowboy convention ordered them up special.


Many friends and acquaintances plus some new, unfamiliar faces were in that room last night. Most were there for the good food and the live music, yet a few were super loud and rowdy through the entire show. Often people would look around at the loudest table in the room, where people seemed to be screaming to the maximum capacity of the vocal cords. The stares never calmed them or softened the volume of their screamed conversations. I realize they were there for fellowship, food and fun. We just wished they had perhaps sat at one of the tables just outside on the patio where their voices could have drifted off in the wind and their words could reach each others ears without the pain and strain of shouting. 


I am not blaming anyone, obviously this loud group did not really come for live music. After all this was not a Listening Room so that is not what they signed up for. It is one of those moments when you are so grateful for The Listening Room in Mobile if you love to hear live music, if you love to see the musician bloom in his or her abilities, rather than wilt down in defeat. 


There were certainly enough music lovers and Eric Erdman lovers to redeem and overcome any and all adversities. We sang along with him on many familiar songs and we did audience back ups on those songs that expected it. This added to the fun and the night was great.


There was a big bonus in the audience, Harrison McInnis, a local musician. He recently released a new CD through Baldwin County Public Records (BCPR). “Love Remedy” is one of the best collections of music I have heard in quite a while. I wish him continued success with this and future projects. Harrison and his beautiful lady friend, Bailey Hartwell came out to see the show for a date night. Harrison, after Eric’s persuasion, got up and sang the title song from his CD. He just blew us away. Then he sang back up on several songs of Eric’s and one Eric Clapton song. They sounded awesome. 


In the crowd was also some other well-known and very talented musicians, Ben Leninger (Mulligan Brothers) and Lee Yankee (Slide Bayou). Joining them were Ben’s lady friend Ginela Bolivar and Lee’s wife Heather Yankee who are delightful and always a pleasure to spend time with. Other celebrities in the crowd were Jeff and Suzanne Zimmer (BCPR), any show is always made even better when the Zimmers show up. 


The crowd wasn’t massive, not all of the crowd was responsive or even listening, but those who were there for the music were THERE FOR THE MUSIC and they made it turn into a wonderful evening for us all.


Juanita Smith

Music Mom




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