Michael “Mickey” Lamantia, lifelong Cranston resident, is a correctional officer at the ACI by day and sings outlaw country by night.
He has worked with some of the industry’s greatest producers and has opened for both Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker. He also provides a platform for his musical colleagues every week as the host of Whiskey Wednesday on his Facebook page, which has over 48,000 likes and more than 55,000 followers.
Lamantia, whose Nashville dreams took a backseat to marriage and family, has been playing locally and creating albums in the background for several years, taking short trips to Nashville to work with producers and collaborators.
Lamantia works with minimum-security inmates during the week and has weekends free to spend with his family.
As the father of 9-year-old Abbigale, a student at Oak Lawn Elementary School, and 14-year-old Michael, who just graduated from Hope Highlands Middle School, Lamantia stressed the importance of stability for his children.
“Fatherhood – it’s everything. That’s why I’m not on the road, chasing this dream,” he said. “This can be a very selfish business. It’s easy to get wrapped up in yourself, and you have to stay grounded and the kids help ground you. They help say, ‘We need to be brought up the right way.’”
This Father’s Day will be one of joy and loss, as Lamantia’s father, Charles “Mickey” Lamantia, passed away on March 21 at age 86. He had written and produced a song for him called “He’s My Dad.”
“It was about him growing older and getting weaker,” Lamantia explained.
Lamantia, who has experienced other personal losses over the past few years, has expressed that writing and making music brings him comfort, as does his family.
Abbigale says her dad is a fun one who dances weirdly and throws her up in the air in the pool.
The soon-to-be fourth-grader has also recently expressed an interest in music after watching a 12-year-old performer. She says she would like to sing and play guitar like her dad.
Lamantia is an independent artist and said he prefers to remain this way – not only to continue to provide security for his family, but also as a means of maintaining creative freedom. Lamantia has been working with Nashville producer Bill McDermott, who has completed projects with George Strait, Martina McBride and Tim McGraw.
Buddy Cannon, who has worked with the likes of Kenny Chesney and Willie Nelson, has recently joined Lamantia’s production team and will be an integral part of Lamantia’s upcoming releases.
Lamantia’s current album, “Honky Tonk Confessions,” comes in four installments. “Chapter Two” was released in May. This chapter includes six original songs, including “He Likes It Fine” and “Slowing My Roll.” The album, which has two chapters left until completion, will include input from two industry heavy-hitters, and Mickey is ready to work.
“Buddy Cannon is legendary. We want him in the room when we make the next album,” he said.
Traveling to Nashville to start the next chapter has been a tricky plan, however, given recent circumstances, but Lamantia says he is ready to go as soon as he is able.
“I think it’s very hard to break into the country scene being from Rhode Island,” he said. “If you play down south, you know that 95 percent of that bar likes country music. If you play up here, you’re winning 95 percent of the bar by your sound and your approach.”
He says his family supports his goals and talks with him frequently via FaceTime when he is out of state.
His wife, Amanda, who holds the fort at home when Mickey is away making music, does like to attend some shows, especially when they include one particular artist.
“She loves Kid Rock,” he said.
Lamantia has played the Washington County Fair, most recently last year, as well as with Kid Rock on the Kid Rock Cruise. He says he’s opened for both Rock and Jamey Johnson.
He and his family feel the future is bright with respect to his music, and he is hoping to have the opportunity to tour. He says he has historically chosen to take advantage of performance opportunities that have appealed to him the most, but he would really love to tour.
He is also quite excited that a short clip from his first song, “Every Bad Habit,” is featured during an episode of the current season of “Outer Banks” on Netflix.
He expresses satisfaction with his career, having already seen some outstanding moments, and looks forward to more, but is aware nothing is guaranteed.
“If it ended tomorrow, I think I’m happy with what I’ve done,” he said. “If someone 20 years from now says, ‘Wow, that guy should have made it,’ that’s all right. That works for me.”