Anna Mahanor playing on stage at the Crystal Saloon in Juneau on June 30, 2023. (Photo by Ḵaa Yahaayí Shkalneegi Muriel Reid)
This is the second installment of Tongass Voices, a series from KTOO sharing weekly perspectives from the homelands of the Áak’w Kwáan and beyond.
Anna Mahanor is a musician, bartender and skateboarder here in Juneau. People may know her from her band, Rain Dogs.
Keenan Wright and Jacob Eberhardt make up the rest of the band. The Rain Dogs are putting out their first album this month. Mahanor shares how Juneau’s music scene has helped her gain confidence as a performer.
Anna Manahor: I’m Anna Manahor and I play in a local band called the Rain Dogs. And I moved here almost two years ago. And I moved here to kind of pursue music, and I’m becoming a little bit more confident with playing because I always used to get really nervous when I would go up on stage.
Three summers ago, I visited my best friend, who I live with now. She was working for the Forest Service. She was like, “You need to come visit. Juneauʼs sick. It’s so pretty here.”
Then when I flew into Juneau, it was like an 80-degree day, so I got totally catfished. And fast forward about a year we were planning to move to Vermont. And then she was like, “Actually, how do you feel about moving to Juneau? I got offered the same job again.” And that’s how I ended up here.
So usually what I’ve found is that it is a really cathartic release. Usually I’m pretty sad or pretty bummed. And a bit somber. And it’s like a journal entry. And you kind of just like, I start, like picking around, I’m like, Oh, I like that riff. And I have a loop pedal. So I’ll get things going on a loop pedal.
And then with the vocals, I like humming a little melody, and then I’m like, “Okay, that’s the melody.” And then I worry about the words later. Because sometimes I could be talking about my dirty socks, you know what I mean? And I’m like, I’m not gonna use these lyrics, but something that sounds similar or whatever.
I met Keenan and we played in the Folk Fest, and it was very kind of like spur of the moment, “Oh, let’s play together.” And he liked playing some of my songs. We played some open mics. And then we were like, “Let’s start a band.” And then his roommate, Jacob, who didn’t play bass at all, was like, “Iʼll play bass.” And he is actually a really, really good bass player.
It kind of turned into one of those things where we’re playing together. And they were like, “What do you want to call it?” And they said they really liked Rainier. And I was like, I really liked my dog’s name. I was like, “I really want to call it Harley Harley.” And I was like, wink, wink, and they were like, “No, weʼre not calling it your dogʼs name.” So they were like, “What about the rain dogs? Because then it’s the beer that we like to drink, and you still get a dog in there.” I was like “Alright.”
The close-knit community here has definitely made it a little bit easier to transition into feeling comfortable going up and performing. Plus, everyone is so supportive and so welcoming. And like, really, I feel like it pushes you to kind of branch out and experience doing something new that you haven’t done.