Mike Mangione & The Union
Red-Winged Blackbird Man (Rodzinka Records)
Aug. 22, 2013
Mike Mangione & The Union’s Red-Winged Blackbird Man couldn’t come at a much more fortuitous time for the Milwaukee folk rock sextet. The middle ground they find between aggro and mellow tendencies on their fourth album comes in the wake of the pop radio triumphs of acoustically Americana-minded acts such as Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. These fellas have been honing their accessibly enigmatic artistry years before most anyone within earshot of commercial FM took notice of unplugged guitars and fiddles. The masterful dynamic shifts through nostalgically redolent melodies, complemented by Mangione’s almost too “rock star” voice, probably signals a higher profile for a band ready for their next ascension.