The Mike + Ruthy Band Unearth A New Sound With Lessons Learned From Family, The Road, And Their Adventures Together On Bright As You Can Out June 2 On Humble Abode/ Thirty Tigers
“Mike + Ruthy Are A National Treasure." - Anais Mitchell
Full Spring/Summer Tour In The Works, Including Mountain Jam and Clearwater Festival Appearances
March 24, 2015 – Mike + Ruthy – “one of acoustic America’s most revered musical duos” (Folk Alley) – have re-emerged with an ace ensemble and will release their stunning new album Bright As You Can via Humble Abode Music/Thirty Tigers on June 2nd as The Mike + Ruthy Band. Surrounded by friends and family, Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar are forging their own take on Americana, not just musically, but in their non-traditional approach to life and parenthood which has informed the songwriting and emotional range of Bright As You Can. The album is in many ways a heartfelt musical expression of Merenda and Ungar’s life and adventures together. Pulling from Motown, bluegrass, rock, folk and more, the album features impeccably crafted songs, gorgeous harmonies and inspired performances. The Mike + Ruthy Band move comfortably from rollicking rock to spare acoustic balladry to classic R&B-influenced rave ups.
A manifesto of sorts for the album, the title track leads things off with lessons gleaned from lovers, children, travel and different generations, while an insistent beat and screeching fiddle propel the song forward. It’s a summation and celebration about all that is worth appreciating as we move through life. “Rock On Little Jane” features vintage horns and a powerful vocal turn from Ungar, with words of wisdom from Merenda to their young daughter Opal. Written by Ungar and Merenda’s close friend (and current contender on “The Voice) Joshua Davis, “The Ghost Of Richard Manuel” pays tribute to Manuel and his cohorts in the Band, a group still very much revered in Ungar and Merenda’s hometown of Woodstock, NY. “Simple & Sober” is a stark, gorgeous ballad inspired both by pregnancy and a friend celebrating one year of being clean. “Legends Only Appear In Black & White” is a dirty, mid-tempo rocker that blends a rough edge with mountain harmonies.
The album features plenty of Ungar and Merenda’s friends, family and neighbors, including Amy Helm, Aoife O’Donovan, Kristin Andreassen, Marco Benevento, beloved Woodstock, NY pianist Professor Louie, and Ungar’s father, GRAMMY-winning fiddler and composer Jay Ungar (mom is country singer Lyn Hardy).
Ungar and Merenda met in New York City, and a musical and romantic relationship sprouted quickly. They spent seven-years with Tao Rodriguez-Seeger (Pete’s grandson) in the Mammals, “the finest young bluegrass/old-timey band in the country” according to LA Weekly. Eventually the duo married and had the first of their two children, and Mike + Ruthy was born as well. Instead of ditching their artistic inclinations and careers for a more responsible trajectory, Ungar and Merenda have incorporated their beloved children into their touring lives. It was a natural move, especially for Ungar, who shared stages with her parents growing up, playing fiddle on stage for the first time at the age of three and appearing alongside her folks on A Prairie Home Companion at 12. They also bring friends and family together at their annual Summer Hoot festival hosted in their Catskill Mountain community. In September 2013 they received a postcard from a 94-year-old Pete Seeger telling them that the inaugural Summer Hoot was "one of the best song-gatherings [he'd] been to in all of [his] 94 years."
The Mike + Ruthy Band continue to tour incessantly, and this year will be no different. In addition to their own dates, they will join the likes of The Black Keys, Robert Plant and Alabama Shakes at Mountain Jam, and they’ll be part of a line-up that includes Neko Case, Ani DiFranco and The Lone Bellow at the Clearwater Festival. More dates are being confirmed, the current list of confirmed shows is below.
Mike + Ruthy Band – Spring/Summer Tour Dates
Mar 27 - Dennos Museum Center at Northwest Michigan College - Traverse City, MI
Mar 28 - Unitarian Universalist Church - Flint, MI
Jun 3 – Club Passim – Cambridge, MA
Jun 4 – The Parlor Room – Northampton, MA
Jun 5 - Mountain Jam – Hunter Mountain, NY
Jun 12 - Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival - McCook, NE
Jun 13 - Buffalo Commons Storytelling Festival - McCook, NE
Jun 20 - Clearwater Festival - Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Jul 8 - Middlebury Festival On The Green - Middlebury, VT
Aug 22 - Summer Hoot 2015 - Olivebridge, NY
The Mike + Ruthy Band are Mike Merenda (vocals, guitar), Ruthy Ungar (vocals, fiddle, banjo), Jacob Silver (bass), Charlie Rose (pedal steel) and Konrad Meissner (drums).
For more information on the Mike + Ruthy Band, please contact Rob Krauser at REK Room Media, 917.703.8361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.