Posts tagged “mike mangione & the union

Last two Shows this Weekend!

We are finishing our tour in our hometowns this weekend. The shows will be special.  It will be the last shows before we dream it all up again.
Buy your tickets early!



Order the new record “Red-winged Blackbird Man” now!

The album is here and ready for you….enjoy!

Follow this link to order the record! Red-winged cover official  copy

Big News from MMTU

We are excited to announce the official release of our latest album
“Red-Winged Blackbird Man” due out in stores Sep 3rd 2013!!!

Red-winged cover official  copy

We set out for 5 days of recording in Iowa City with Grammy nominated producer Bo Ramsey, but the team got along famously and completed the new record in 2.5 beautiful days! “The majority of our experience as a band is playing together live, and we didn’t want the recording process to be any different,” says Mike. “We set the room, took our places, pressed record and came out ahead. I can’t wait for people to share in what happened there”.

For those that have seen the band live since the album’s completion it has been made available at the shows. Sep 3rd marks the official release and moment it will be available to the general public through digital and physical distribution. Spread the word!! Speak of and buy often!!


Summer Tour

With the warm weather comes fun, food and music. MM&TU will be playing a collection of festival dates around the midwest as well as a few shows out east and in the country of Texas. See you there!

Check out the tour section for details

band sil no building hand up

On The Road With Tom

This is the editorial from our March newsletter written by our guitarist, Tom. Do you like this? Then sign up for our monthly newsletters to the right——>

On the road with Tom

It’s a funny thing to have six people in a car, day after day, heading to a new town and to another show. What a weird existence! Often we are in that car for hours on end, traveling cursively through space and time, going nowhere in the end because we always end up in the same place we started – home. To pass the time on our journeys, we don’t all talk as a group (mostly). Instead, we have fallen into our own solitary habits. I would love it if someone could travel with us for a time, as a passive observer, noticing our activities while we travel the endless road. That person will see the same things over and again: Patrick is reading a book (a thousand-page brick of a book, nonetheless), Kristina and Mike are sleeping (ofttimes for the entirety of the trip), John is

driving while musing on the topics of politics, philosophy, and music, and at the same time Nez is navigating while playing the part of devil’s advocate, keeping John in check and his feet on the ground (the two often remind me of Socrates and his students discussing the same eternal topics in the agoras of Athens). As for me, you will usually find me quietly looking out the window, taking in the sights and deep inside the cavities of my mind … pondering, ruminating, and talking to myself (in my head, of course).

If I may, I’d like to share one of my thoughts on the topic of music. I hope it is not overly tedious. Please bear with me.

The etymology of the word “music” comes from the Greek for “muse” (i.e. Μοῦσα – Mousa). You can see the connection, and interestingly, the same root also flowered into the word “museum,” the treasure trove of the arts. The muse – sometimes evoked in plural form but essentially one entity – was the goddesses of inspiration and the purveyor, through the vehicle of the artist, of art itself. Throughout ancient times the muse was evoked before a recitation. Homer, for example, began his great works by calling on the muse to inspire him and to lift his words heavenward. But what’s more, music (along with the lyric) was seen as the highest form of art: that which can provide momentary manifestation of the ineffable; that which can make the inaudible, audible – the invisible, visible, however fleeting. Music, of course, does not take physical shape. It is the only art form that is invisible … not seen but heard and internalized. It is an inhalation and exaltation.

But alas, back to the specifics of music. I remember reading an interview with Bjork, the Icelandic singer, almost 15 years ago. It was fascinating. She mentioned that she continues to write song after song because she is forever in search of the perfect song … an elusive pursuit perhaps. She will never stop, she said. I identified with this. I think the same can be said of all musicians and songwriters. Our songs are never perfect; they seem unable to communicate exactly what we are feeling. We try. We fail. But we get back on the proverbial horse. The question is: is this search for perfection possible in an imperfect world? For some sort of answer, I refer back to ancient Greece, to the reticent poet and artist, Plato. Plato argued that not even a true circle is possible in this world. Though one might try, the imperfections inherent in all surfaces prohibits such a feat. Think of a piece of paper and all is crests and troughs. You might try to make a circle, but in some way, however small, it is not perfect. It is a distortion. To be sure, a perfect circle exists, yet only in another world – the eternal realm of forms. Yet, at the same time, we have in our head an idea of the form, the thing in itself, even though it is not tenable in our world. Thus, worldly circles only inspire. They stand in as an understudy of the thing in itself. Our circles here on Earth, for example, partake in the idea of “circleness.” They are close replicas but not the thing in itself. As such, Bjork embarks on a noble pursuit chasing the perfect song. To do this, she chases the very notion of perfection, that is, perfection in itself. While we know this is impossible, the pursuit itself may partake of remarkable features on their own. She fails, as all creators and artists do, but the search makes manifest things like faith, love, and hope – however fleeting. At best the audience connects with the emotions conveyed and tentatively grasps the artist’s intention. Yet, it is not the perfect song. Get back on that horse. So, the muse is not obtainable in this world. She is there only to inspire, to breath in and inflame. There are good songs and there are better songs. She holds her hand out when coaxed by the latter, a more-perfect melody. Our goal is to grasp her. As a creator myself I also chase the perfect song … and the muse.

At last, I await to see her, to greet her where she is. When I do find the muse, a pursuit unto death, I hope she will sing for me the perfect song. I will then get off the horse and pause in my tracks.

New Dates, New Tours, New Band Members

_fp03OK the last one is a lie, its the same ole 6 members. But in this age of rapid media bombardment you have to SHOCK and grab attention. Frankly, we didn’t feel the first two cut the mustard. However, they SHOULD because its true and its awesome! MM&TU are adding new dates for the spring and summer. The band will be incredibly busy the next couple of months. A couple of these dates will be house concerts. People are starting to ask the band to play in their homes!! After playing a couple of these the band has fallen in love with the concept. If your interested in hosting or want the details for one in your area email with the subject line House Concert.

Check out the Tour section to see whats coming!

Stay close, look around, see a show, come often.



Folk Alliance International: Mike Mangione & The Union in Toronto


The band will be heading to Toronto for the Folk Alliance International conference this week. If you are as well, stop by one of the many showcases we will be performing at. A list of where and when is below as well as on our tour page. Say hello and hang with us!!

FAI Handbill

A Live Concert Right Now, Right Here!

mangionecover_10The wonderful people at in sunny Memphis, TN hosted the band a couple of months ago. If you were not able to join us, no worries. Sit back and allow us to entertain you right now, right here. Enjoy! CLICK—-> Mike Mangione & The Union at Dittytv Memphis

This is the end…

CBB Festival - Mike 3

CBB Festival - Mike 3we are finishing up our fall tour and boy are we tired. Thank you to those who came out to support us we had a blast and hope to see you in the spring. Our plan is to release “Red-winged Blackbird Man” next year and tour like crazy…won’t you join us?

If you are not on our email list you may join it here…just look to the right–>
Members receive a monthly newsletter with a free download or video, an editorial by one of the band mates, tidbits and a list of upcoming dates.

Also, if you have not “liked” our facebook pages or followed us on the twitter machine please do so as well. It will make your days more enjoyable.

We love you, we thank you, we can not do this without you! Please be safe this season and meet us in the spring.

Love and hugs

Mike & The Union

2012 RadioMilwaukee Music Awards Listener Poll – vote for MMTU!

As 2012 winds down, we find ourselves in the unique position of being nominated for awards and accolades for a release that technically hasn’t even come out yet. But don’t let that stop you from voting!

Mike Mangione and the Union are nominated for:
Album of the Year – Red-winged Blackbird Man
Song of the Year – American Martyr
Catchiest Song of the Year – American Martyr
Music Video of the Year – You Don’t Wanna Leave
and Best Live Show

Vote now at Listener Poll

Fall Tour Has Begun!

We are on the road starting……NOW!

A couple of radio appearances that everyone can enjoy.

WGN radio Thurs Oct 4th at 9pm with Brian Noonan.
Video/audio recap available here: Mike Mangione & The Union on WGN Radio – Brian Noonan show.

Then, listen to Mike talk about the up-coming album and play new tracks with Milwaukee Public Radio’s Bruce Winter Friday night, Oct 5th, at 7pm online.
Listen to a recap of the radio interview here” Mike Mangione Interview – Bruce Winter chats with Mike Mangione.

The band kicks off its Midwestern and Eastern tour in Chicago Friday Oct 5th at Fitzgeralds Night Club, then Saturday in Milwaukee at Linnemans Riverwest Inn. Check the tour section for more info.


The Weight

Often times before a performance the band meets and has a “moment.” The idea is to ground ourselves in the task at hand so that we can attempt to enter fully into it. One of the most impactful and effective points of reflection for us is the reality that our shows are numbered. We often lose ourselves in the thought that there will always be another gig around the corner and, although this establishes a healthy connection to the performance, it is not totally true. Each performance has a number and that number is waning.

Each performance is also the direct result of the show before it. We carry with us the weight of the last show, the last year, the last five years, the last 10 to 25 and so on. So much time and expense has gotten us to that moment. Seen in light of this reality we understand that each show is “expensive” and not to be wasted! Every show carries with it the many years that each member painfully learned their instrument, sacrificed other wants in pursuit of their musical identity. Many hours, nights, days, weeks away from family, loved ones, special events and celebrations. As if that is not sobering enough, there is the reality that each yell or scream from my vocal chords depletes the voice changing the tonal quality never to be the same again! There is a weight in every performance that cannot be ignored and must be respected.

On March 13, 2012, I had the privilege of seeing one of my musical heroes in concert: Mr. Levon Helm. I was in musical bliss as I watched him play, pushing out each snare drum whack with a thrust of his shoulder, a concerned, furrowed brow followed by a small wicked grin. His body made visible the invisible ingredients of every musical master: joy and suffering. Joy and suffering are two sides of the same coin. The inescapable cross of every artist that burns, yet refines, the artist to a greater quality. Levon possessed these two ingredients and they were beautifully visible that night.

As I stood watching the last song I questioned how I became so lucky, so fortunate to be in the presence of such net worth. For 54 years Levon stepped on stage using his body to reveal his soul. He missed time with his family, broke relationships, lost friends, band members died, battled his dreams through reality, battled cancer and even lost his voice never to be the same again. His life was expensive. Not many can handle that weight, most would crumble under its pressure and most do. That night in March, for an hour and a half, I reaped the benefits of his investment.

As I watched the last song, my eyes welling with tears, I noticed one more thing. Standing next to Levon was his daughter and band mate, Amy. He wasn’t playing for me, he was playing with his daughter. As father and daughter they were having a moment. Creating a memory together in the twilight years of his amazing life. Because I have a two year-old girl at home this hit me the heaviest. How unworthy am I to be in this audience, to be sharing this moment? The weight kicked the air out of my lungs and left me with nothing but a muttering “thank you.” Thank you for your gift, your example, your time. Thank you for your investment, your commitment, your suffering and allowing me to experience a glimmer of the fruits. Thank you.

Levon died 37 days and 7 shows later surrounded by his family.

(an editorial from our newsletter, to subscribe join email list to the right)

Steel Bridge Songfest 2012- Victor Delorenzo of the Violent Femmes Joins the Band for the Fest

It’s that time of year and we’re off again to one of our favorite festival gigs: Steel Bridge!
This year Victor Delorenzo, famed drummer from the Violent Femmes, will be joining the band as the 7th member for both of their sets on Sat June 9th! There will be a whole lot of rhythm going on!

The band’s First set will be on the Main Stage during the day, then join them for a late night show at Kitty O’Riley’s

2012 Steel Bridge flyerThe festival runs from June 7-10 and we’ll be playing the main stage on Saturday June 9 during the day and taking part in the pub crawl event that evening. Musicians take over every venue in Sturgeon Bay (even the bowling alley!) and your festival ticket allows you entry to every location.

Steel Bridge 2012 Weekend Passes are On Sale NOW at all TicketStar Locations,
online at
or over the phone 1-800-895-0071

$25 tickets purchased through Ticket Star will include a digital download of Steel Bridge Songs: Volume 7 (2012 Release)! These will be mailed out to you a a later date.

Ticket allows access to all venues and also allows for priority admission to venues that are nearing capacity – ahead of persons paying the per venue cover charge.
Certain venues may require passes for entrance.

How To Spend Time In Nashville

Although the visit was short, and the show was shorter, we managed to do something that had a chance to last. For 30 minutes we meet in a storage warehouse above a hat store and filmed three songs with our friends Two new and one old. Both beautiful and fulfilling in a simple half hour time. My only regret is passing that black fedora on the way out…. Enjoy!

New Video For an Oldie: Great Divide

Another creation by artist and dear friend David Leiberg for one of our favorites from Tenebrae (2008)

Stay up to date with MM&TU Join our Newsletter and Facebook Group

Every first Tuesday of the month subscribers receive free downloads, dates, product deals, and editorials from the band members. Do so by signing up through here on the website to the right—->

Also, stay in touch through the official facebook page. Pictures from the road, news, stupid random thoughts…whatever it is it will be there.

Coming to the show, tell us what songs to play. Get involved and get creative…

Facebook Page Here!

See you soon!

The Band on TV Jan 19th

Hello friends

You can catch the band playing on TV TWICE tomorrow to promote their Milwaukee and Chicago shows this weekend.

For those in Southeastern WI, parts of the band will be on NBC The Morning Blend Ch 4 at 9am. For those outside of Wisconsin, the show will be posted on their website after if you are interested in viewing it at

The band will also be on Chicago’s WGN tomorrow at 12:00pm CST. If you have cable YOU CAN SEE IT! Or you can see it online at

Or if you want to just see them live come to
Jan 19th SPACE in Evanston
Jan 20th Linnemans in Milwaukee

Tickets can be purchased on the tour page!

Is The Break Done So Soon….

Yes….it is… MM&TU head out.. oh, yea, by the way this year we refer to Mike Mangione & The Union as MM&TU..its faster and a WHOLE lot cooler. MM&TU had their time off, drank their coco (although winter still has not hit the Midwest..), opened their gifts, gained their pounds, fell in love/out of love and back in love with their families and now its time to share what they have learned with you. The band hits the road this Friday with a show in Excelsior, MN and then Eau Clair… both known for their beaches and tropical climate. Then they play some hometown love shows in Chicago and Milwaukee…and Cedar Rapids and Dekalb…and.just check out the tour section.

See you on the road!


Thank You….we will share.

While on tour out east we had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful people from Eartotheground Music. After our show, we sat for ahwile, talked about the band, music and the yearning for this all to make sense. Next thing we know a beautiful write up appears…..thank you Casey


Read the interview Here

Heading East…won’t you join us?

Mike Mangione & The Union are heading east this week for a mini jaunt to some of our favorite places. We would love to spend the night with YOU! Cleveland, Washington DC, Philly and New York City are all on the path. Check our tour section for details.

Sitting in MN without a guitar

There is something about traveling so much that makes the most unusual…usual, the uncommon becomes common and the waves become still. I am in Minneapolis getting ready to mix our album and I don’t have a guitar, and I don’t know how to feel about that. I have grown to become comfortable with routine…late nights, late mornings and little sleep, lots of sweat, some music and great conversation. i have grown to become comfortable with discomfort and a simple routine to comply with it. Not having a guitar blindsides me and leaves me to feel a little helpless in this strange arctic city.

…..But why would I expect anything different from this whole experience. When we entered the studio in Iowa City with Bo Ramsey I expected to….maybe get some sounds, plan our approach and track a song or two. I didn’t expect to play through 5 songs, be recording the whole time, loose my sense of the recording process and have someone I respect so much repeat “a take is in the performance not the overdubs”. I have never finished something so fast and felt so comfortable with it in my life. And I see clearly…Comfort lies in the community we build around us and, so far, this album echos that ethos. So, why should I be surprised I am here, vulnerable and naked in this city without my guitar…my support. If there is one thing I have learned in this process its trust the communion…the engagement, not the second guessing… Which is good…because without my guitar before me…ill be a lot closer to the action.

Mike Mangione & The Union at World Youth Day in Madrid

We’ll be in Madrid all week – see dates on the right or on our tour page here: Tour page

Also, we’ve created a page especially for updates while we’re in Madrid. Visit that page here:
WYD Tour Diary.

Heading West Young Man

Hello to all. This morning we shoved out of Chicago with the rise of the sun…well….around lunch time, but we left non the less. Our first stop is the one and only Oyster Ridge Fest in beautiful Kemmerrer WY. The place has the nicest people on earth and it looks like the moon. So i would go as far as saying the nicest people on earth and the moon. Then, Denver CO, and onward to the beautiful mountain range of Kansas for a couple of dates. After that I will be in New Orleans because..well, why not! We are very excited for this trip, the energy in the truck is electric..! well, sleepy now, but at one point all our hair was standing up from the raw static pulsing through our bodies. See you soon.

P.S Kristina says…”I gotta pee…again”


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