Tony Manard's Big Ole Band Captures A Big Small Town Called Memphis 

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"Getting by in Memphis...Getting high in Memphis...Getting fired in Memphis." So end the first three verses of Tony Manard's "Fool From Memphis." On the way, he name checks Wild Bill's, Joe's Liquor Store, and Raiford's, and remembers how "downtown smelled like Wonder Bread." Then comes the chorus, like the recurring story of a neighborhood drunk: "I saw Jerry Lawler wrestle Junkyard Dog at the intermission of a monster truck show, Mid South Colieseum." 

It's all narrated in such a casual, offhand way that you really will feel Memphis around you as you listen, and that captures one of the hallmarks of Thanks Y'all!, Manard's newly self-released album: its fine-grained sense of place. The city is a recurring character through many of the songs here, all written by Manard, and he savors his lyrical images of the city like photos of an old friend. And it's all set to an Americana-esque blend of folk, bluegrass and country rock with a mildly funky vibe. 

The lineup gives one a sense of the overall sound: 
Tony Manard - Guitar, Vocals
Cecil Yancy -  Guitar, Vocals
Alice Hasen - Fiddle, Vocals
Carlos Gonzalez - Mandolin, Vocals
Brian Mulhearn - Electric Guitar, Vocals
Jimmy Stephens jr, - Bass
Vinnie Manard - Keys
Stephen Chopek - Drums
Evan Farris - Dobro, Lap Steel, Vocals 

click to enlargeTony Manard
  • Tony Manard
The arrangements sound remarkably uncluttered for such a big ol' band, with some standout solos by Alice Hasen on fiddle and Carlos Gonzalez on mandolin. 

It should be noted that Manard's local cred goes beyond shouting out place names. The ongoing saga summed up by the punchline,"Man, the sun's goin' down and I feel pretty good/Made a pontoon boat from a Cadillac hood" is a perfect portrait of the D.I.Y. spirit that's alive and well in this city. Manard relishes every detail of building the "Party Barge" in a song reminiscent of Johnny Cash's "One Piece At a Time," destined to accompany the sound of pneumatic tools in garages for years to come. 

Finally, the sense of place is palpable in more ways than one on the album's closer, "Ain't No Freedom." The music video was shot live at Clayborn Temple this February and released on April 8, the anniversary of a 40,000-strong march in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., just days after his assassination. And the tune, a call for a more just society, is entirely appropriate to his legacy. As Manard writes in the press materials: 

This is a staple of our live shows, but I had no intention of recording it in the studio. We got the opportunity to record it live, and make a video at historic Clayborn Temple. This was the rally point of the 1968 sanitation worker's strike and the place the iconic "I am a man" signs were made an distributed. Tony Barnshaw Dickerson, a fantastic writer, singer and choir leader, came to our rehearsal to work with us on the phrasing and added his beautiful voice. We also recruited our friends Annie Freres and Kathleen Quinlen to sing with us. We invited a bunch of our friends to join the chorus and be in the video. Everyone there felt the energy of the location. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Walt Busby handled the live recording. Jared Callan shot and Christian Walker directed. 

Check the video out below. Thanks Y'all! is available at local record shops and at Tony Manard shows, which may either be solo or feature the Big Ole Band. 

Tony Manard appears at the Halloran Centre, Sunday, Sept. 15, at 4:00 pm.

Music Video Monday: Tony Manard and the Big Ole Band

POSTED BY  ON MON, APR 8, 2019 AT 12:23 PM

Music Video Monday is for everyone! 
click to enlargeTony Manard
  • Tony Manard
Today, Tony Manard brings a whole passel of friends to Music Video Monday. He and his Big Ole Band set up in Clayborn Temple to perform "Ain't No Freedom" for director Christian Walker. His regular eight-member band was joined by a choir of 19 singers for this live-to-tape recording. "Like most independent artists, 'I get by with a little help from my friends.' This took a lot of friends. On top of Big Ole Band regulars, I wanted to enlist a choir of friends to help us get the message out," says Manard. 

"Ain't No Freedom" is an epic cry for justice in our troubled times, filmed inside one of the spiritual homes of the Civil Rights movement. 

If you'd like to see your music video featured on Music Video Monday, email

Memphis musician Tony Manard performs live on WREG's Live at 9.

What She Said - Tony Manard
Music with Tony Manard



Music Video Monday: Tony Manard

POSTED BY  ON MON, NOV 13, 2017 AT 11:29 AM

It's a Music Video Monday smackdown! 
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It got real when director Libby Brawley created this video for Tony Manard's song "Mississippi (Why You Gotta Be So Mean?)"  

"We shot this at my folks place—that's them at the end in the convertible," says Manard. "I put the word out on Facebook to my friends to create the most bizarre character they could come up with and bring water guns to the family compound in the red clay hills of Northeast Mississippi. I bought hamburgers and hotdogs to grill, built some water balloon cannons and let the chaos unfold. Jada Brisentine-Smith (aka Scary Poppins) actually broke her leg on that jump. Despite the appearance of conflict, Shark and Panda are happily married. So two televisions, and one watermelon were shot, one leg was broken, along with several thousand bug bites and about 2 ponds of dirt in my boots. It was a fine day in the country." 

Tony Manard's third album KnowWhy is available right now on his website. Come get some of this brutal music video action: 


tony manard - sedan deville season one

memphis, tennessee singer/songwriter tony manard recorded his latest album in a non-functional cadillac deville in his backyard. it sounds down-home, the production constrained by the car to his gritty voice and a couple tracks of country blues picking. tony also added a narrative frame...the songs serve as episodes in a series, telling the stories of different characters who may have ridden in the deville.

i think tony found the right muse in this broken down icon of the american road. there is a real atmosphere to this album. recommended. it also has really great bandcamp liner notes.

Tony Manard at Memphis Made Taproom

POSTED BY  ON FRI, MAR 4, 2016 AT 12:38 PM

Tony Manard
  • Tony Manard

This Saturday, March 5, local musician and singer-songwriter Tony Manard will unveil his latest solo effort, Sedan deVille Season 1, with a release party at the Memphis Made Taproom. Recorded entirely in a broken down 1964 Cadillac Sedan deVille in Manard’s back yard, the album presents a loose narrative inspired by hypothetical tales of hitchhikers, travelers, and the open road.

“I have been fooling around with old cars since I was a kid,” says Manard. “My Dad would buy old cars 
that we would part out or fix up. One of the best parts of dragging home an old car is going through the 
trunk and the glove box. Old receipts and things left behind give a glimpse into the lives lived in the car. I 
started thinking of the Cadillac songs as stories told either by the driver or various passengers. The things 
you talk about on long drives, or the conversations you have with yourself on the road. The theme of an 
episodic serial started to emerge, every song a story or conversation that I would imagine being told in 
the car. I took it a step further by introducing the series as a whole, and each song as an episode. It made 
me think about radio plays, and it seemed to fit with the riding around in an old Cadillac theme.”

Here is a clip of Manard performing “Come Up,” a cut from Sedan deVille Season 1, inside the car: 

The entire album is available for streaming/purchase here.

Tony Manard performs his latest music on Live at 9

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