The Mammals, a high-octane Americana quintet from New York’s storied Hudson Valley, will bring their deep original repertoire, searing American roots sound, and a message of hope for humanity to Tales from the Tavern on March 7.
The performance is part of a tour marking Mammals’ reunion after a nine-year “hibernation,” and new album Sunshiner, out April 20 on their own label, Humble Abode Music.
Fronted by second generation fiddler/singer Ruth Ungar and multi-instrumental wordsmith, Mike Merenda, The Mammals are known for their jubilant, high-energy shows. They 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 hoe-downs to hear-a-pin-drop a cappella balladry.
Nearly 20 years into their musical collaboration, each Mammals’ show brims with effervescence and wit, bringing timeless traditions of song, story-telling and dance to the stage. Their concert will preview selections from Sunshiner, offering songs that promise to whoop up a ruckus and others that may make even a grown mammal cry.
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.”
The original Mammals trio enjoyed a remarkable seven-year run that brought them to the largest folk festivals across North America (Telluride Bluegrass, Vancouver Folk Fest, High Sierra), Australia (Woodford, Port Fairy, National) and Denmark (Tonder), Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium (with stringband peers Nickel Creek), New York’s Carnegie Hall as the special guest of folk legend Arlo Guthrie, and to the pages of numerous publications lauding their unique “traditional-music-in-combat-boots-sound” including a feature in The New York Times hand-picking them as a leader in a pack of new-wave stringbands “updating that old-time sound.”
In an era of disconnect, these subversive acoustic traditionalists bring their multi-generational audiences on a joyous alchemical journey, building a better community, one show, one song at a time. The band represents a continuation of the work of their musical mentors Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, and is their way of ensuring that the same handmade music passed down to them makes it through to future generations.