Veteran Newcomers: Local music duo makes a Bristol debut

Jackie Ruppfor the Times

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Times file photo – The Manchesters will perform at Calm Waters Coffee Roasters in Bristol Borough on Jan. 7.

You won’t find a band website, Facebook page or endless songs to download on SoundCloud from The Manchesters. In fact, that may not even be their name for long. They’ve contemplated changing it when new members come aboard.

But what you will discover when the married couple of Daniel and Chloe Manchester take the stage at Bristol’s Calm Waters Coffee Roasters this week is a local duo passionate about sharing their music.

It might seem like The Manchesters, Hulmeville residents, are just starting out, but in many ways they’ve been around for years.

Daniel Manchester, 41, said he’s been playing music since he was 11. He now plays multiple instruments like the upright bass, guitar and banjo, but mostly the latter two for gigs with his wife.

For most of his adult life, playing music meant sitting in with friends’ groups, but Manchester was always songwriting. Now, he feels like it’s time to break out of that mold.

Recently, the pair recorded four songs in the studio together, something Dan has never done before.

“I’m in a lot of my friends’ bands and play with a lot of people with a lot of great music,” he said. “I’ve always been writing music, too, and I started wondering why I wasn’t recording and sharing it, too.”

The results are, at times, haunting country rockabilly with tinges of Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie or Joni Mitchell.

The upcoming gig at Calm Waters marks a turning point for The Manchesters.

“Recording these songs is the beginning of starting to work on all that stuff,” Dan said.

By “stuff,” he means getting his music up online, giving his band a public presence and attracting new members — basically diving into a music project that he can now call his own.

That’s not the fun part of playing music for Dan. He’s a self-described “non-techie” who got his first smartphone only a few weeks ago.

“I always appreciate what it feels like to have someone listen to what you’re saying. They’re great tools and I’m grateful I’m on the planet at this time, but I don’t have it on me all the time. I’m embracing but it’s not taking over my life,” he said, laughing. “But you’ll have to check back with me in a year to see if I’ve succumbed.”

So far, Dan’s career hasn’t had much use for technology. For the last 14 years, he’s been teaching guitar at Richboro Music and in the summer months working with outdoor adventure camps to build zip lines and adventure courses.

“All my jobs are pretty fun,” he said.

Part of that fun has been playing music with Chloe, a nurse by trade.

The two met when Dan and Chloe’s brother were studying music together at Bucks County Community College. All three began playing together, and the couple found themselves to be a perfect match musically and beyond.

“She played cello, and I found out she could sing. We’d sit around all day playing together,” said Dan.

That dynamic of being both musical partners and a married couple brings a unique dynamic to their music, said Manchester.

“Our music relationship is a lot like our marriage,” he said. “You have to take the other person’s opinion into consideration and then either stand by your opinion while acknowledging theirs, compromise or take their advice.”

Manchester added that the honesty a couple can have with each other, tempered with sensitivity, makes their creative process more productive.

“With friends, people dance around things to be nice. We care about each other and are sensitive, but it’s raw,” he said. “It’s easier to say things we wouldn’t say to other people — that honesty is huge.” ••

The Manchesters will play at First Friday Live Music on Jan. 7 at Calm Waters Coffee Roasters, 242 Mill St. in Bristol, from 7 to 9 p.m. For information, visit calmwaterscoffee.com.

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