When we first got hooked up with The Mike + Ruthy Band, we instinctively knew that it was going to be joy-filled and fulfilling. Right from get-go, their album Bright As You Can was well received and they toured relentlessly and successfully with appearances at Celtic Connections, Cambridge Folk Festival and the Summertyne Americana Festival establishing them as a major force on the UK circuit.
Before that – back in the 2000’s – Mike + Ruthy were members of The Mammals, a “party band with a conscience” (The Washington Post) who achieved worldwide success travelling across North America, Europe and Australia for 7 years culminating in a performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall.
In 2017 when the cultural-political world changed around them, Mike + Ruthy decided, after consulting with now retired Mammals co-founder Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, to pursue a change of their own: to resurrect the name and re-kindle the vision that had previously been at the core.
In bringing back the name that energised crowds back then, Ruthy said: “We’ve always been Mammals at heart. The music we’re making has the same old-time and Americana roots, and our lyrics are more political again.”
It’s true, The Mammals were known for their rabble-rousing musical declarations which sometimes caused a stir with politically-divided audiences across the USA.
“If you tell the whole truth you won’t please everyone,” confesses Mike Merenda – he’s the songwriter and guitar/banjo player who’s 2004 Mammals anthem “The Bush Boys” made the Dixie Chicks seem downright polite. When making the announcement on the name change online, Mike + Ruthy stated: “We plan to mix in some more topical lyrics and party instrumentals, because, let’s face it, we need to call it like we see it, and after that, we need to dance!”
They’ve served up two astonishing albums since then and became the talk of the town when they were flown back over to play Celtic Connections again.
“Folk that is joyous, hopeful and highly political” – AmericanaUK
“Sensational” – Iain Anderson, BBC