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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    AmP Spotlight: Mike Mangione Band

    Last night I saw Mike Mangione and his band perform at the Quincy House in Brookland, DC (which is quickly becoming the hot spot for local Catholic/Christian musicians - check it out if you are in the area).

    After their instruments were safely stowed, I talked with Mike, his brother Tom, and learned more about their inspirations and plans. They are not only impressive men personally, they are fantastic musicians, and it's my pleasure to introduce them to AmP readers.

    Mike told me about studying theology of the body and the writings of John Paul II, and (if I'm allowed to give it away), the story of him proposing to his wife at World Youth Day. His brother Tom mentioned that they often play for Catholic students at Newman centers as well as listening rooms across the country. Their song lyrics reveal their understanding of Catholic theology, and their song topics show their sensitivity to issues especially important to Catholic youth.

    And as you can see, they also put some serious heart and soul into their music:

    These guys work hard (Mike's performed over 150 times a year in the past three years), and it's paying off:

    Born in Illinois, and now residing in Milwaukee, Mike Mangione is quickly becoming a familiar name throughout the city's growing music scene. Bringing an organically subtle, yet expressive sound, Mangione has drawn comparisons to such songwriting heavyweights as Ryan Adams and Elliott Smith.

    In the past three years, Mangione has averaged 150 shows per year, performing in countless venues and festivals including SXSW and Milwaukee's own Summerfest. Needless to say, Mike Mangione has been putting in more than his fair share of work, and has a large mass of live experience. His previous album, "There And Back," charted as high as No.16 on the CMJ countdown, proving his following has grown to respectable lengths.

    Now touring behind his new opus "Tenebrae," Mangione feels ready to spread that following to even greater amounts with much-deserved confidence in the album. "Tenebrae" is a classic-sounding piece full of beautifully arranged acoustics and Mangione's vocals can be heart-breakingly delicate at times, comparable to how James Blunt only wishes he could sound. [source]

    I think it's clear that Mike is a very promising up-and-coming artist.
    So how can you get involved?
    Listen to tracks from his latest album, Tenebrae on his MySpace page (for free).

    His website has a list of upcoming shows; he'll be criss-crossing the nation in the coming months - so check it out! His website also has more information about him, including some fun facts that I thought I'd share:
    Tom Mangione took guitar lessons from a teacher with a glass eye who didn't realize Tom was playing upside down until three months into lessons. When the mistake was discovered Tom figured he had learned way too much on the instrument and the information was irreversible. Arguably the best and worst decision he ever made.

    Mike was cast as "Mail Boy" in the Will Ferrell movie "Anchorman" and can be seen through out the movie in the office scenes. Can you find him?
    Mike is a firm believer in the Theology of the Body.
    Mike's song "It's Me, Not You"was just picked up by Burger King for licensing!

    Finally, Mike mentioned to me that he and his bandmates have been invited to perform at World Youth Day in Sydney Australia. They do, however, have to find a way to pay their way, so once the setup an easy online way to assist them, I'll post on that as well. In the meantime, buying their music is a great way to start!

    As for me, I'll be dropping the tracks from Tenebrae and There and Back Again on my mp3 player tonight.

    As a final treat, here's a short video of his performance the night I heard him at Quincy House:

    If the sound quality is poor, it's the fault of my camera - not the Quincy House or Mike.

    Bottom line: I believe Mike Mangione is exactly the combination of real artistic talent and positive Catholic values that I hope and trust will flourish as part of the ongoing second spring of Catholic culture.

    (I should add: other Catholic artists who will be in Washington DC are welcome to drop me a line.)

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