In 2016 Hudson Valley based songwriters Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar (aka Mike + Ruthy) enjoyed a high-water mark year buoyed by critical acclaim for their June release, Bright As You Can (Thirty Tigers) and a commitment to touring once again as a crack five-piece ensemble – reintroducing a high-energy folk rock sound that they helped define in the early 2000’s as “Trad is Rad” trailblazers, The Mammals.
Mike + Ruthy are “musicians’ musicians” who have found fans and friends in the Americana world and beyond. As word of their well-loved record spread, the band quickly found themselves sharing bills with industry luminaries as diverse as The Avett Brothers, Milk Carton Kids, Elephant Revival, Ani DiFranco and The B-52s setting the stage for a tremendous 2016 which included invitations to 15 major music festivals across the US and and Europe.
He’s a songwriting guitar-slinger with a knack for clawhammer banjo. She’s a fiddler and uke-chanteuse who grew up in the American roots underground, the daughter of GRAMMY-winning fiddler, Jay Ungar. These two believe in the transformative power of a great live show. They write top-tier songs (“Some of the best songwriting of their generation” (LA Weekly), tour with their kids and peerless five-piece band (a sound they’ve taken to calling rural rock), and perform for audiences worldwide with a charm and on-stage ease that might make you think they’re your new best friends. Of their own roots music festival the two founded in 2013, their late friend and mentor Pete Seeger wrote, “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.”
Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed fascists. This family carries the torch.