Mike Mangione & The Union
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Mike Mangione & The Union

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | INDIE

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Mike Mangione"

Pick of the week - NY Magazine

"One of The Best Songs"

"Waiting For No One" - The Miller Tells Her Tale 225 - Best of 2007 P2 (UK)

"One of The Best songs"

"The Killing Floor" - Indie Launchpad

"One of the Top 10 Local Albums"

If Mike Mangione’s voice were alcohol, it’d be a single-malt Scotch. Oaky and warm, it might not be the only reason to get lost in his new LP, Tenebrae, but it’s a damn good one. While he does the kinda predictable, Ray Lamontagne thing and wraps it in dark textures, bluesy turns like “First Time: Please Forgive Me” and foot-stomper “You Don’t Wanna Leave” suggest working “roadworn” into the list of qualifiers for his voice would be a plus. More cheap bourbon, less red wine. (www.mikemangione.com)
– Steve Forstneger

- Illinois Entertainer

"Mike Mangione"

”Literate with evocative emotional detail, Mangione's latest should satisfy VH1 viewers and World Café listeners in equal measure. His pain and reminiscences sound as poetic as anything in popular music nowadays.”

- Shepherd Express-Milwaukee

"I AM FUEL Review for "You Don't Wanna Leave" from Tenebrae"

(review for the song “You Don’t Wanna Leave”)
This warm and rootsy song from Chicago+Milwaukee singer/songwriteMike could be the perfect tune for the impending autumn weather. Its honey richness sticks in your head, and made me smile from the moment I first heard the opening melody. The acoustic playfulness reminds me a bit of Van Morrison, and is recommended for fans of the literate alt-county of Rocky Votolato, or even the catchy pop hooks of Rob Thomas, believe it or not. Tenebrae is the Latin word for darkness, and it's also the title of his newest release, which can be streamed in full over on his website.
I AM FUEL Heather Browne
http://fuelfriends.blogspot.com appeared on Monday sep 10th


"7 out of 10 Blurt Magazine"

Tenebrae 7 out of 10
www.blurt-online.com/reviews/view/387/ - Blurt Online

"Mike Mangione"

“Mike Mangione’s music is completely against the spirit of the time and therefore has
become timeless”
- House Of Rock (Germany)

"Mike Mangione: Has Some Strings Attached"

Link: http://illinoisentertainer.com/2008/12/02/mike-mangione-interview/

Mike Mangione
Simply Put

In a time when AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and Metallica are rearing their salt ‘n’ pepper head, and their progeny fill the airwaves, singer-songwriters like Mike Man-gione, whose music is deep in the roots, are becoming endangered species.

Appearing: Wednesday, December 3rd at Double Door in Chicago.

Yet there always seems to be an audience.

“Stripped down and organic music has been prevalent in our country’s history since the beginning,” Mangione says. “The songs of Appalachia, the Civil War, turn of the century, and well into the ’50s and ’60s, music was growing the same time our country was. Especially in the ’60s — all the folk stuff, from Buckley to Dylan to Donovan, all that stuff that came out and was so at the forefront then kind of made a big comeback in the past 10 years. Even at a time when acoustic music wasn’t really big in our popular culture, you had Bruce Springsteen putting out The Ghost Of Tom Joad and Nebraska, two great albums that were such throwbacks to our heritage. This music pulses in our hearts as Americans. I think it’s programmed in us to always have an ear that’s willing to listen to it.”

College radio is already privy to the Glenview, Illinois native’s revealing folk rock: His first release, There And Back, landed at No. 16 on CMJ’s “Most Added” chart in 2005. Mangione, however, is quick to point out that record was much different than new album Tenebrae, calling it a one-sided ego indulgence, in part because his brother Tom and he played all There And Back’s instruments and recorded it all themselves. “An album needs to be good and it needs to be the right timing,” he says, “and I personally think Tenebrae is a lot better than There And Back. I think the CMJ thing happened because it was the right time and people just picked up on specific parts of it.

“But there’s not much of a world view to [There And Back],” he continues. “I like other people’s input. Tenebrae is the first album I did with the band — the band that plays with me is the band that recorded it, and we had been working the songs live before we went into the studio.”

Tenebrae is a collection of songs less insistent but more thought out, full of string embellishments and quiet, open spaces. “My brother and I said, ‘At this point in our careers what do we want to sound like?’” Mangione recalls. “And we came up with ’simple but good’; we want to play very simply but we want to play everything simply well.”

An objective achieved, and explained, perhaps, by Mangione’s capacious admiration for producer Daniel Lanois. “Albums like Achtung Baby, Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind, Emmylou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, and Peter Gabriel’s Us set the bar for me,” he says. “These albums all have something very mystical and pensive about them.”

He met producer Duane Lundy (These United States, The Parlour Boys, Ben Sollee) while on the road, and they hit it off so well Mangione asked him to record his next record. “We had the same vision for the album and decided to record as much as we could live, with very little overdubbing, so that the performances could breathe and bleed together — literally bleed together into the microphones.”

Mangione co-wrote and arranged most of the songs on Tenebrae with his brother, who also played all lead guitar. They recruited drummer Robby Cosenza, Chicago upright bassist John Collins, The Samples’ keyboardist, Karl Dietel, and teenage cellist and violinist Patrick Hoctor and Kristina Priceman, respectively — both from Milwaukee — to complete the lineup. They recorded in a converted warehouse in Lexington, Kentucky for two weeks, keeping live takes for the Lanois-esque vision Mangione had for Tenebrae.

Live performance is something Mangione knows well, racking up about 150 shows per year since 2005, even heading down under for the World Youth Day festival in Sydney, Australia in July and has shared bills with The Samples, Will Hoge, Jack’s Mannequin, and Lifehouse, among others. The venue, he says, is the “canvas” for the performer. “The venue is just as important as what kind of tone guitar you use and chord you use . . . it’s an instrument in and of itself,” he says. “I think this kind of music lends itself to multiple canvases, many different rooms. We have violins and cello and upright bass and acoustic and electric guitars, so it’s a pretty organic, mellow, and vibey performance. Recently we played a show in Columbus [Ohio], and the venue we walked into was a punk club. That’s kind of a hard canvas to work with. But we’ve been fortunate enough that no matter what the arena is, it goes over.

He continues, “When I played solo, I used to strum a lot more to kind of make up for the sound, but what I found is that that’s not good; it becomes an annoyance. Now, if I play acoustic, I actually play less than if the band was there because I think silence creates a broader and colorful dynamic. Which isn’t anything new; it’s exactly what you see when Jeff Tweedy plays solo and even Dylan sometimes. But I’d say the band is just more fulfilled, all the melodies are there. The response we’ve been getting is unlike anything any of us has ever seen.

“Victor DeLorenzo [Violent Femmes] told me, ‘As long as you can perform live you’ll be fine and you’ll have something to do,’ and that’s all I needed to hear.”

– Penelope Biver

- Illinois Entertainer

"Mike Mangione-Tenebrae 4.5 out of 5"

Jackson Browne. Harry Chapin, Marc Cohen... …I love their masculine, raspy, throatiness. Make that beyond love. More like full body and soul lust, with an overlay of untainted, unaffiliated with any color of wrist twine or rubber band brand of spiritually. Their music and words envelope me like a pill infested (those little fuzzy woolen bits, not the little fuzzy-headed prescription variety), comfy-cozy, overused and over-loved childhood blanky.

So my first thought/feeling upon hearing Mike Mangione's Tenebrae for the first time was: "Great, another patch for my personal, musical quilt." By the second cut, my musical metaphor loom caught a snag. While Mangione's talent certainly could be woven into a warm respite from the hard-edged, often biting Billboard occupants, that type of easy pigeon-holing would shortchange him and the public.

Mangione is a unique, home-grown, home-spun, all-organic, polyester-free body wrap you are powerlessly drawn to---regardless of the season or the weather. Not to put too fine a point on it ---and not to hammer it home to a blunt dullness--- Mangione's voice is that of a husky, all-guy, wholly endearing campfire cowboy, complete with a sincere, smooth to the touch and the ear, cracked rawhide feel to it, minus the cartoon coyote/cowpoke lyrical landscape. How else could anyone make the proverbial break-up line: "Baby it's me, not you", (p.24 of the Man-up and Break-up Already Guide) come across as fresh, genuine and scrubbed up shiny new?

Which isn't to say Mangione trades on exceptional vocals, melody lines and fresh guitar picking (pay especially close attention to "Great Divide") to convey what, in the hands of lesser musicians, might ring of hollow triteness. Au contraire, mes ami(e)s. There's the haunting, gospel-like "The Killing Floor" ; I could listen to him stretch out "hallelujah" for hours upon hours and still discover something new and alluring about each syllable and pause. Then there's the sparse and swelling "Please Forgive Me", a song so strong and moving I would happily forgive its singer of just about anything short of scarfing down the last scoop of Pralines and Cream within a 200 mile radius.

If you're not a go-to-the-mattresses-to-defend-his-honor variety of Mangione fan after this pair of introductory cuts, kindly and quickly forfeit your membership to the hearing world.

But if your fanhood reticence is just a matter of haughty "discriminating musical tastes" (AKA: you're an auditory snob who wouldn't recognize talent if it slithered next to you in bed and even stuck around to prepare a gourmet breakfast), then be gone with you. You don't deserve Tenebrae. In fact, you don't deserve those symmetrical head accessories, since you're obviously not using them for anything other than to keep your hat and glasses from slipping down.

But, if you're simply and sadly a life-long artistic fence-sitter, physically unable to declare your musical affiliation until you've experienced every note ever written by and/or emitted from a new-to-you artist, then beg, borrow or steel a pen to sign that Mangione Fan Club membership card. You will quickly and permanently be enamored of the balance of this CD.

From "Waiting For No One" right down to "Mama, Be Not Afraid", Mangione is addictive, alluring, hip, happening, hopeful and hope inspiring... Oh, and evidently a good bro to boot, as evidenced by the liner notes: "Despite my name being on the cover, I would like to acknowledge my brother Tom Mangione who contributed artistically in everything from writing to recording this album." And a grateful son: "A very special thank you to our parents, Peter and Patricia." There's a tip of the hat also to a Stacy Mangione for the album design and layout.

That's some talented family tree. I'd give up the drumstick for a place around the Mangione clan's dining room table next family holiday. The post-meal entertainment, even in spite of the coma-inducing turkey, would keep me musically happily plump and satisfied, until at least the next family gathering. Or until I can pop Tenebrae back into the CD player. Whichever comes first (I know, I know---I'll need to pick up CD player batteries LOOOOONG before I need to pick out a hostess gift).

As for the unusual CD title…let's just say that, with this wholly irresistible creative effort, Mangione has confidently and deservedly stepped out of the Tenebrae. May he forever bask in the warm, appreciative public and industry sunshine.

Link: http://www.antimusic.com/reviews/08/MikeMangione.shtmlhttp://www.antimusic.com/reviews/08/MikeMangione.shtml

- Antimusic.com


-Redwing-Blackbird Man (2013/produced Bo Ramsey)
-Offering (2011/Duane Lundy)
-Tenebrae (2008/Duaner Lundy)
-There and Back (2005) CMJ Top 200 Adds #16
--Songs For Tomorrow's Misfortune (2000)Mike Mangione and the Left Hand Band Live at -Schubas (2005) on emusic.com
There and Back CMJ Top 200 Adds #16 (12/06/05)
-Acoustic Chicago 2007
-WMSE Nov Compilation 2007



Mike Mangione & The Union is a touring group that combines a folk-rock sound with an orchestrated string section, soulful vocals and literate sensibility. The bands debut album, Tenebrae, received favorable press from all corners of the country, including the honor of being an All Music Guide Album Pick, while Blurt refers to their tearstained folk, Memphis-styled gospel and bluesy-flavored pop as luminous. In 2011 they released Offering on their own imprint, RODZINKA Records, with sync and digital licensing by DUALTONE Records. The album and band were nominated for best of the year by RadioMilwaukee (88.9 FM), along with receiving other kind and warm accolades. In 2013 they released yet another album, Red-Winged Blackbird Man, produced by Grammy-nominated producer, Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown, Pieta Brown).

What Other Artists are Saying:

Victor Delorenzo-Violent Femms

"'Mike Mangione delivers an honest and insightfully soul searching style of music that stands far from the usual singer-songwriter fare of today. Mike and his superb band aren't afraid to take a chance when it comes to presenting 'something new' in this routine oriented music world we live in. Through interesting instrumentation, arrangements and emotional songwriting, Mike and Company sing and play with all the fire, wit and charm that will leave any listener wanting to hear more."


"one time i saw mike rescue a family of baby possums from a burning apartment building, and i could tell he was a great song writer. if he could fabricate a violent criminal past, he'd be a pop sensation....great writing, great delivery, i am a fan."

Jane Wiedlin-The Go-Go's

"I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Mike this summer. I am now a big fan!

He's not only an original and heartfelt songwriter, but an excellent guitarist as well.
I look forward to tracking my new friend's musical career with great interest!"

Peter Mulvey

"Mike Mangione's songs are spare and roomy, and he takes the stage with dignity and style."

Vince Scheuerman-Army Of Me

"I love Mike's music, and his voice blows me away. His songs are (thematically) heavy, but they lift you up and pull at your heart, the way music is supposed to. I feel sorry for anyone who has to go on-stage after him."

Michael McDermott

Mike Mangione is able to weave stylistic street poetry and a sweet soulful backbone together into one beautiful communion"

Band Members