Thousands of concerts across tens-of-thousands of miles and Ruth Ungar & Mike Merenda have emerged as one of acoustic America’s most revered musical duos.
Mike: “We do this Pete Seeger song, ‘Oh Had I a Golden Thread,” and by way of introduction we often acknowledge Pete for all his work in helping people to believe in humanity. After a concert recently a fan approached us and said, ‘You know, you guys do that too.’ I was elated.”
As story-tellers, as singers, as poets, as parents (they tour with their two small children), Mike + Ruthy are heralds of an American cultural awakening, one that values honesty and togetherness, one that prefers grit to glitz and one that - in the face of an information super-highway - revels in the old-fashioned telling of a story.
Two guitars, a fiddle, a banjo, a ukulele, a stool with a glass of water and a few harmonicas elegantly surround a single microphone. Nothing is plugged in as Mike + Ruthy curl around that one mic like you would a fire pit on a chilly night, their voices swirl and rise like the fire smoke itself.
The intimacy of their performance is more akin to a night you once had listening to music around a friend’s kitchen table. Their songs are divine, their delivery breath-taking, but it’s the charm which they bring to the stage that cannot be overstated.
Ruthy: “After a recent show a fan approached me and said, ‘Wow! I feel like I know your life story!’”
Summed up nicely by New York arts & culture monthly, Chronogram, “Mike + Ruthy, who’ve been on the music-making road together for over a decade, shine both individually and as a two- voiced entity; he’s a folkie with a pop heart full of catchy choruses; she’s a vocal hotshot bringing the house down armed with only a resophonic ukulele. Together, they go a long way toward restoring love’s good name.”