The transformation may take a few months as we shift gears in 2017 to perform and record again as The Mammals. We used to call ourselves "subversive acoustic traditionalists" or "the party band with a conscience." Either way, the timing feels right for The Mammals' truth-singing, tune-slinging spirit to return from hibernation right now. Check out the new website http://themammals.love and stay tuned for more updates on summer shows and new music. We'll still be playing your MRB faves, too!
Folks, we're releasing two new songs for the holiday season! Ruthy's gorgeous, new studio rendition of "Stayin' Up Late" from a session here at Humble Abode Music in May 2016; and an early live performance of "Mike Goes to the Mall" from Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music circa 2013. Both of these singles are available as name-your-price downloads here.
By offering our music for cheap/free we're essentially doing a trust fall into our loyal fans and listeners. Please (please please) consider supporting us at Patreon.com/mikeandruthy so we can continue to pursue our musical dreams and create more releases like this! As little as $1/month gets you the regular updates, random surprise demos, live concerts streams and a behind the scenes look into our journey as touring songwriters and performing artists. Thank you for your support!
Mike + Ruthy
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
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
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.
Here's a nice little blurb about our Cambridge Folk Festival Stage 1 set:
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:
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):
Here's a lovely audio interview with Northern Sky live Cambridge Folk Festival.
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,
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.
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
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)
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!
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!
We tend to haul straight thru the entire state of PA a lot. So when Jason asked about us setting up an interview in State College, PA we said hell yes. It was really fun. Played some tunes from the new record and discussed some current events including making bright as you can and touring with Ani. Here's the link!
Man, oh man. We are so grateful to our friends at Beehive Production for capturing our performance of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" in their Saranac Lake, NY studios. We've been trying to pin this live version down for YEARS and I do believe these folks nailed it. Thank you, Jeff & Sue!
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."
"In the vanguard of today’s vibrant folk revival."
"The 14-song collection spans folk, bluegrass, vintage country and just about everything else that falls under the catch-all heading of 'Americana.'”
"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."
"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."
"Cigarette gently faces the horrors of the world, praying that a good song will offer some kind of salvation. These uplifting songs do."
“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.”
"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."
"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."