The soulful rock and chamber-folk of Mike Mangione recalls the magic of Jeff Buckley, Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice. A small string section made up of a cello and violin adds a Daniel Lanois-esque luminosity that Mangione has been crafting for the last few years. That quest led most recently to a very special recording session in Iowa City with legendary producer and guitartist Bo Ramsey, which resulted in a new record and a new sound.
“I have never finished something so fast and felt so comfortable with it in my life,” Mangione says. “And I see clearly … comfort lies in the community we build around us and, so far, this album echos that ethos.”
Following the 2005 release of his solo debut, “There and Back,” the Chicagoland native has opened for Jamie Cullum, The Samples, Will Hodge, Jacks Mannequin, Lifehouse, Brian Vander Ark and Michael McDermott.
About five years ago, Mangione relocated to Milwaukee to marry his longtime sweetheart and land a live recording session with producer/engineer Duane Lundy (These United States, Ben Sollee, Yim Yames, Daniel Martin Moore, Vandaveer) in Lexington, Ky. He recorded his sophomore effort with a new collection of players, the band that became known as The Union. Samples keyboardist Karl Dietel was recruited to play keyboards and Lundy brought in Robby Cosenza (The Apparitions, Scourge of the Sea) to play drums. The resulting record, Tenebrae, was called “sublime” by All Music Guide and Blurt magazine said its “Memphis-styled gospel and bluesy-flavored pop” erased any doubts that Mangione was anything other than a “deeply soulful cat.”