Free Union

“The minute you meet Michael Coleman, you get a clear sense of his charisma. Free Union, led by Coleman, makes songs that bring people, ideas and musical styles together. Since teaming up with drummer Rob Dunnenberger, the band has grown in size, scope and ambition, but its message and goal remains the same.” -Stephen Kallao, World Cafe, NPR

Free Union is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based collective led by Michael Coleman (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Rob Dunnenberger (drums), and features Carrie Coleman (vocals), Parker Hawkins (bass), and Tyler Hutcherson (keys). The band’s sound is not distillable, it’s ever-evolving music is rooted in soul and incorporates rhythm and blues, rock, and pop into its sound.

In its short history, Free Union has found quick momentum including a debut performance at the 2019 & 2021 Lockn’ Music Festival, a feature on NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation: September Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing (2019), and a national appearance on the acclaimed WXPN National Public Radio program World Café (2020).

Free Union has maintained a constant stream of releases building upon their catalog alongside their energetic live show. In 2021 alone, the band put out five major releases in including a quarantine created and recorded double single entitled “Somethin’ + The Other Side” in January, a five track EP entitled “No Pressure” in May, and three singles “Good Life” (September), “If You Can You Will” (October), and “Prelude” (December) with each song featuring unique collaborators such as DJ Harrison (Stonesthrow) and Grebes. Poised for a breakout year in 2022, the band has plans for multiple releases.

The history behind the collective’s name gives context to its message. Free Union, Virginia—originally named Nicksville after a free African American blacksmith—sought to unite people of all races at a time when the country was inherently divided. Theseprinciples of inclusivity are the underpinnings of this collective. Free Union brings people, musical styles, and ideas together to inspire a message of unity.