News

"My Baby Drinks Water"

In just one week Ruthy's spontaneous a cappella performance of "My Baby Drinks Water" has been viewed over 4000 times (including a Facebook share from Ani DiFranco!)  

"Here's a new song from the banks of the Ashokan, native Lenape land, giving thanks to our Mother Earth. Let's remember we are all part of nature and we can't live without her. The more we pollute and degrade our water the less we have to share. This song is a prayer for clean water, clean energy, and the wisdom to choose the healing path. - Ruthy

*Hoot Highway*

This fall we're experimenting with a new approach to touring called The Hoot Highway.  In a nutshell, we show up in a town, perform, back-up and collaborate with a regional guest artist or two, and then end the night with a square dance. 


That's the idea, anyway.  We're testing the waters during our October jaunt down South and hoping this collaborative, festival-inspired show will help drum up bigger audiences.  We'll see! 
How beautiful is this poster?  Our good friend Carly James of Bison Bookbinding and Letterpress whipped it up in her spare time.  You may recognize her work from The NYC EP CD and 7" printing and design.  We love Carly and her partner in crime, Kevin, very, very much.  They're also the folks who single-handedly cleaned and resuscitated the print shop at the Ashokan Center where they annually set up shop on the weekend of the Summer Hoot.  You can visit them online at http://www.bisonbookbinding.com


Our plan is to bring a Hoot Highway type of show all over the country.  This Spring we'll likely hit some Northeast cities with this model and then continue to branch outward as we hone in on exactly what it is and what works best.  Ultimately, we'd love to take over a venue for an entire day and truly host a mini-festival with multiple stages, a kids zone, food-trucks, etc. That will probably have to go down on weekend days exclusively.  We'll see. We'll get there eventually.  In the meantime, Hooooooooot! 

*About the Hoot Highway*


For long time band-mates and festival-founding sweethearts Mike Merenda + Ruthy Ungar, The Summer Hoot is a rowdy but wholesome way to finish off the summer festival season at home near Woodstock, NY. It's a down-home gathering 2 hours from NYC with outdoor stages and an esteemed lineup that has included Pete Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Amy Helm, Loudon Wainwright III and dozens of up and coming Americana and roots music performers. This October they're keeping the spirit of the summer alive and embarking on a Hoot Highway Tour down south. According to Ruthy, "the best thing about a festival is when bands get to sit in with each other and intersect in new and spontaneous ways!" Collaboration will be in the air in Nashville, TN (10/11) Asheville, NC, (10/12) and Athens, GA (10/13) as The Mike + Ruthy Band plays host to an evening of songs, stories from the road, and local guest artists from each city. Each show will have it's own special flavor with the common thread of good times, old tunes, new songs, and a square dance to finish off the night with a bang. Leave your cares behind and have yourselves a Hoot! Don't forget your dancin' shoes!

"Dear Mike + Ruthy, Your Hoot was one of the best song gatherings I've seen in all my 94 years.  I hope next year I can be there for more than one day." - Pete Seeger

10/11 Nashville, TN - New Roots Exchange House Concert
w/ Kristin Andreassen, Caitlin Canty, Rachael & Dominic Davis, Clelia Hart Stefanini
RSVP https://www.facebook.com/events/1768475046725861

10/12 Asheville, NC - Isis Music Hall
w/ Amythyst Kiah Tickets http://isisasheville.com/contact/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovzdZLXWnIg

10/13 Athens, GA - The Foundry
w/ Hog-Eyed Man Tickets http://thefoundryathens.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-42Zqvp59NI

2016 rules.

Ruthy at Cambridge Folk Festival July, 30 2016. 

Ruthy at Cambridge Folk Festival July, 30 2016. 

Y'all.  There's so much great *content* to share I hardly know where to start.  Photos, interviews, links, radio shows. So. Much. Stuff.  

Not that you have loads of time to sit around reading about US all the time, but, here's a smattering of some goodies you may find interesting:

I dunno how I missed this the first time around but here's a great piece on "the world of old-time music" as it relates to today's artists. I particularly love the art work at the top of the piece featuring Ruthy's dad, Jay. 

http://americansongwriter.com/2015/10/america-unfiltered-the-world-of-old-time-music/2/

Here's a nice little blurb about our Cambridge Folk Festival Stage 1 set: 

http://www.fatea-records.co.uk/CAMBRID/Cam16/friday2.html

And here's a rather smashing review of our last-minute, relocated, almost-didn't-happen Glasgow show by Paul Kerr of Blabber n Smoke.  I love how deeply and immediately he latched on to what it is that we do: 

https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/the-mike-ruthy-band-the-glad-cafe-glasgow-sunday-24th-july-2016/

Here's a fun live video we made as a submission to try to get voted on the Cayamo cruise this winter (watch til the end for a good chuckle):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Siqg8vlGCBs

Here's a lovely audio interview with Northern Sky live Cambridge Folk Festival. 

http://www.northernskymag.com/media/interviews/mike-ruthy

Some tour photos here: https://www.instagram.com/mikeandruthy/

It just goes on and on . . . 

I'm just pleased as punch.  

I figured out today that we've only slept under our own roof four nights since May.  Nine festivals later and we're still going strong with the Hoot right around the corner, not to mention Ashokan Southern Week and a fall tour including stops in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and more.  

The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

Today I went golfing with my buddy TK.  Then we jumped in a swimming hole in Woodstock called Big Deep.  It was a lovely day off.  Of course, come sundown I gave a  banjo lesson and dove into some email work but, still, by my standards, a day off.  

Ruthy and I are very grateful that we get to do what we do.  This year finally feels like we're back to where The Mammals were when we called it quits.  Shit takes tiiiiiiiiiiiiime to get back on track.  I love where it's all heading and I love where it's all been and thank you for being with us on this journey.  This musical expedition.  Thank you for your contributions, both financially and spiritually.  It all helps propel us forward more than you know.  I swear to god. 

Love + Gratitude,

 

Mike

Great Ink from SLO

Just finished two great shows on the Central Coast. Many thanks to SLO Folks for presenting us in style and to Glen Starkey for this great ink.  

By Glen Starkey.  

By Glen Starkey.  

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Lovely photos from The Capitol Theater w/ the B-52s

Photo by Bob Smyth, The Capitol Theater, 2/27/16.  Opening for the B-52s. 

Photo by Bob Smyth, The Capitol Theater, 2/27/16.  Opening for the B-52s. 

Photo by Bob Smyth, The Capitol Theater, 2/27/16.  Opening for the B-52s.

Photo by Bob Smyth, The Capitol Theater, 2/27/16.  Opening for the B-52s.

Here are a couple great photos from Saturday night at the Capitol Theater opening for the B-52s!  Check em all out at the link below! - m

https://www.facebook.com/Lohengrin25/media_set?set=a.10153939851957290.1073741979.704657289&type=1&l=27450b8b7c&hc_location=ufi

Calling all Patrons!

Two-thousand-fifteen ROCKED. There isn’t a caps-lock big enough to express it accurately.

We released Bright As You Can.

We committed to touring full-time as a five-piece band.

We played some of the best shows of our 15+ year career.

Now it’s a new year. 

And guess what we’re starting tomorrow . . . 

A NEW RECORD. 

Our plan is to record a lot in 2016.  

To keep the incredible momentum we felt in 2015 rolling right into the new year. 

And we need your help! 

We need PATRONS

So we launched a Patreon campaign. (https://www.patreon.com/mikeandruthy)

(If you haven’t heard of Patreon, here’s the deal: it’s an on going fan-funding platform empowering creators of all kinds to make a living from their creativity and hard work. Not just for one project, but on a continual basis.)

We think this is the best model out there to keep us motivated, engaged and creating new music to release and share with the community. 

If you believe in the power of songs and take pride in supporting art, please consider becoming one of our Patrons! Your money will directly flow into the hands of our beloved musicians, engineer, babysitters, local take-out restaurants & food markets, and perhaps a few purveyors of fine studio gear. What will happen will be pretty miraculous. We will wake up, we will thank you, we will eat, we will thank you, we will record songs, we will keep you in the loop, and we will make you very proud. If not, opt out at any time and we will still thank you!

Thanks, Love + Gratitude,

Mike (+ Ruthy)

https://www.patreon.com/mikeandruthy

Best of 2015

"The album that monopolized my speakers this year was from The Mike + Ruthy Band. Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar are perhaps better known to ND fans as the husband-and-wife duo who was a cornerstone of the Mammals. That classic folk band dominated the scene back 10 years or so ago, with their politically charged, old-time-infused raw and raucous folk music. For this new album, "Bright As You Can," they reunited most of the Mammals (sans Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who's got his own thing going in New Orleans). The disc feels like home, like a bunch of players who know each other so well, they don't even have to think about it. Themes of family and reckoning prevail, woven through music that is as celebratory as it is contemplative. Because I have a two-year-old who dances hard to this music, I've listened to it almost every day, all year long, and it's never gotten stale or predictable." - No Depression, Kim Ruehl (Editor) 

"The album that monopolized my speakers this year was from The Mike + Ruthy Band. Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar are perhaps better known to ND fans as the husband-and-wife duo who was a cornerstone of the Mammals. That classic folk band dominated the scene back 10 years or so ago, with their politically charged, old-time-infused raw and raucous folk music. For this new album, "Bright As You Can," they reunited most of the Mammals (sans Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who's got his own thing going in New Orleans). The disc feels like home, like a bunch of players who know each other so well, they don't even have to think about it. Themes of family and reckoning prevail, woven through music that is as celebratory as it is contemplative. Because I have a two-year-old who dances hard to this music, I've listened to it almost every day, all year long, and it's never gotten stale or predictable." - No Depression, Kim Ruehl (Editor) 

Ani DiFranco

We are on tour with Ani DiFranco and she is better than ever.  She is gracious, smart as a whip, has a world class crew and a beautiful community of fans who fill every hall with contagious joy. What an incredible way to round out this high water mark year. Here's a great pick on M + R & Ani rocking which side are you on at the Tarrytown Music Hall. Long live the little folksinger! 

Ani DiFranco & Mike + Ruthy at the Tarrytown Music Hall.  

Ani DiFranco & Mike + Ruthy at the Tarrytown Music Hall.  

Soundcheck for a PBS taping at Infinity Hall, Hartford.

Soundcheck for a PBS taping at Infinity Hall, Hartford.

PARC Theater, Cranston, RI.  

PARC Theater, Cranston, RI.  

Music Hall of Williamsburg, NY.  

Music Hall of Williamsburg, NY.  

Rozz Tox & Daytrotter

Yeaterday we recorded a Daytrotter Session - our first with the whole band (check out the 2012 duo session here) and then played a killer "Moeller Monday" set at Rozz-Tox. We'll let you know when the band session is live. There will probably be a bonus track or two from the show that night. We can't wait I hear it ourselves!

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Tons of great reviews.

In the last month we've had some great reviews and features from the likes of The Associated Press, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation, Performer Magazine, Elmore Magazine, Pop Matters, Folk Alley, and Relix.  

Check out the links below! 

“'One of the year’s standout Americana albums."

Boston Globe

"In the vanguard of today’s vibrant folk revival."

- Pop Matters

"The 14-song collection spans folk, bluegrass, vintage country and just about everything else that falls under the catch-all heading of 'Americana.'” 

- Wall Street Journal

"Everything is masterfully performed as Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar sing about the charms of hard work, homemade wine and free parking. Amid the barn dance reverie created by fiddle, pedal steel, horns and more, Ruthy's versatile alto is the most glorious instrument of all."

- ABCnews

"It’s that ability to go beyond the boundaries that allow The Mike + Ruthy Band to temper their folk finesse and do so with such skill, they’re actually able to set themselves apart." 

- Elmore Magazine

"Cigarette gently faces the horrors of the world, praying that a good song will offer some kind of salvation.  These uplifting songs do."

- Relix

“Bright As You Can seems to be honoring the great musical traditions of the past while at the same time welcoming, with open arms, the future of what music can be.”

- Folk Alley

"True musicianship is alive and well."

- Performer Magazine (feature)

"On their upcoming Bright As You Can LP, the duo rumbles and tumbles their way through 14 finely crafted tunes that roam effortlessly through the whole span that is Americana, from alt-country to folk to bluegrass." 

The Bluegrass Situation

"This is a record about what it is to be human. It's a record about what it is to have an inextricable allegiance to tradition, while feeling compelled to speak for oneself. It's a record that will grab you, that won't let you go." 

No Depression

Levon Helm Birthday Tribute.

This past Friday we had the honor joining an all-star cast at Levon Helm Studios "home of the midnight ramble" for a beauiful and scortching tribute to Levon in honor of what would have been his 75th birthday. What a crew!  

Photo by Tania Barricklo

Photo by Tania Barricklo