Folk group The Mammals, the indie roots trailblazers who energized audiences in the ‘00s with their “Trad is Rad” message, celebrate their reunion and new Sunshiner album after a nine-year hibernation.
Fronted by Mike + Ruthy, second-generation fiddler/singer Ruth Ungar and multi-instrumental wordsmith Mike Merenda, The Mammals are a dynamic five-piece Americana quintet from New York’s storied Hudson Valley carrying on the work of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, with a deep original repertoire, searing American roots sound, and a message of hope for humanity.
Over a decade ago, in The Mammals’ first incarnation (which featured founding member Tao Rodriguez-Seeger) the Washington Post described them as, “gleefully aware that the sound barriers separating old-timey music, vintage pop and contemporary folk are as permeable as cotton.” Their new Sunshiner record has that same genre bending playfulness on full display, evoking Laura Nyro on Ungar’s intimate, spine-tingling piano number “Stayin’ Up Late” and surrounding the listener with a lush, electric, indie-folk swirl on “The Flood.”
During their considerable “hibernation” from The Mammals, Merenda and Ungar married and started a family, a biannual folk festival, and a musical duo aptly called Mike + Ruthy (w/ six full-length albums and extensive tours across North America and Europe), and Seeger pursued a solo career before retiring from music altogether to start a family of his own. The Mammals returned fronted by Merenda and Ungar in 2017 “stronger than ever” (Folk Alley) with a pair of politically charged singles, “Culture War” and “My Baby Drinks Water,” and the announcement of a new album in 2018.
Each Mammals show brims with effervescence and wit, bringing timeless traditions of song, storytelling and dance to the stage. The Mammals deftly move from older-than-dirt banjo duets to sound-the-alarm topical fare that’s right in line with the times, bouncing from rafter raising hoedowns to hear-a-pin-drop a cappella balladry. Their concert will feature selections from Sunshiner, offering songs that promise to whoop up a ruckus and others that may make even a grown mammal cry.