Satsang: “In the Company of Truth”

Brian Ripple  |   Sunday Mar. 1st, 2020

It’s a beautiful moment when music from the heart and poetry from the soul truly connects with its intended audience. For Satsang lead singer and songwriter Drew McManus that moment occurred on a 2018 tour through the Midwest, Northeast and Pacific Coast in which two-thirds of the band’s dates sold out. That’s when the truth hits home for McManus that his soulful, reggae-infused blend of folk-rock and melodic hip hop and its message of strength, growth and resilience is his testimony to the world – and the world is finally listening.

Drew McManus spent most of his life trying to distance himself from his troubled upbringing in Des Moines and Chicago and its cycle of violence, abuse and addiction. McManus, though, would find his peace amid family in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, an oasis that allows him a warm hearth to recharge from the rigors of the road and practice his other passions – painting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and social activism.

“Home is my heart,” McManus says. “When I’m not on tour, I’m a stay-at-home dad with four kids – one of them a baby. My music is the self-reflection of that and the touring is the mirror.” - Satsang FB

We are looking forward to Satsang’s return to Bozeman in March, we asked Drew a few questions and here is what he had to say:

BR: Last year Satsang had unmeasured success on the road. Tell us what you thought each time you sold out another show on tour last year?

DM: Grateful. It is crazy to be far as hell from home and have hundreds of people want to come see this music. It is humbling, exciting…. I am honored to get to play in front of people every night.

BR: Satsang has had the opportunity to share the stage with bands like, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Trevor Hall, Wookiefoot. This summer on June 6th you guys are opening for Michael Franti Spearhead at Red Rocks Amphitheater. This must be blowing your mind?

DM: Yeah, it does. The Red Rocks things is ridiculous. The odds of being a musician and getting o touch foot on that stage is so small, it is unreal. I am really blessed to have a friend like Michael and have him see what he does in me and this band.

BR: Would you mind sharing some info about Satsang’s albums (recordings) and the success you have found in the studio as well?

DM: It is really kind of the same formula every time. I write the songs, get an idea of what I want them to be, and then Karl uses his unreal gifts to make what I hear in my head real. We typically do everything, him and I, and then record drums last in studio. With the technology now you can track vocals, guitars, pretty much everything but drums… remotely and from anywhere. The last record was literally recorded in air bnbs, hotels, basements, and studios all over the country. People seem to really love the old stuff, we have had well over 10 million streams from Spotify alone on those first 2 records…. Still waiting for “Kulture” to catch, lol.

BR: When can we expect a new record?

DM: We have literally just started the next record. There is some insane features on this next record. It is wild to be at a place where I can DM some of my favorite players/singers of all time and ask them if they want to do a song, and they say yes. So look forward to that, we have some INSANE collaborations coming.

BR: Outside of music what do you do to stay politically active in the crazy world we are living in?

DM: I think the best thing we can do to serve the world is play to our strengths. I have found that music is my gift, how I form words, is my gift. That’s how I contribute politically, I made “Kulture”, The first half of that record was my response to the 2016 election. I also work with a number of charities. Be The Change and Unlikely Heroes being the ones I have worked most closely with. Unlikely Heroes rescues young women from sex trafficking and gets the to safe houses, into schools, etc EVERYONE GO CHECK THEM OUT!

BR: It’s been a minute, but you guys will be in Bozeman on March 25. What should people expect this tour?

DM: The band is bigger and better than ever before. The sound is unbelievably full. It is not “power trio” anymore and we are expanding sounds in a huge way. I feel I’m coming back more to the sounds of some of the music that moved me real early on (Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks etc) Its still the same message and vibe… just way more guitar heavy melody etc.

BR: Is there anything else you would like to let us know?

DM: I am so proud to be from Montana. I will never leave. It has been a while since we played in MT and I hope we can garner the same support at home that we have been everywhere else. I pick Bozeman to play on purpose. We don’t play Missoula, we don’t play Billings. Bozeman is a special part of the story for me and I hope y’all will come see what we're up to. If ya don’t like it I’ll give ya your money back :)

Catch Satsang with special guest Cole Thorne on Wednesday, March 25th at the Filling Station. Doors open at 7p.m. and music begins at 8p.m. Age 21 and over. Tickets are $11 in advance, and $15 at the door. As always tickets are available in downtown Bozeman at Cactus Records and online at  

About the Author(s)