Pin It

CD Review: Mike and Ruthy 

Inside the new CD from this well-pedigreed Hudson Valley folk duo is a photo of their new son, Will, cradled under his mom’s neck like a fiddle. Warmth and love radiate from the image, and indeed, Waltz of the Chickadee offers a batch of rustic folk originals and covers swaddled in blankets of sweet harmony and softness, as if Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda set out to craft a new book of old-fashioned stringed lullabies to usher their baby through his first years.

Strangely enough, and perhaps specifically because Waltz seems to have been written under the spell of first-time parenthood, the album’s occasionally almost too nice: The songs that each dedicate to Will, “Baby” (Ruthy’s) and “Slow Train” (Mike’s), are both pretty but may seem overly anodyne if you don’t have (or aren’t) a baby yourself. It’s easy to pardon a couple that harmonizes like this, though; throughout the record, their sublimely twined voices evoke silken clouds stretching low across a sky. And Mike and Ruthy’s musicianship—honed over years of playing together, with family and in ensembles, most notably the Mammals—bears the mark of veteran brilliance, especially in the tunes that seem the most casually turned out, such as “Cooper’s,” a fiddle-led instrumental that Ruthy wrote at a sound check, and a scorching version of the traditional “June Apple.” Can’t wait to hear the record Mike and Ruthy make during Will’s terrible twos!

click to enlarge 2009, Humble Abode Music
  • 2009, Humble Abode Music

Speaking of...

  • Review of recent folk music by new parents Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Homeschool at The Aldrich: Wish, Wonder, Write @ The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Homeschool at The Aldrich: Wish, Wonder, Write

Fri., March 24, 10-11:30 a.m. — Be inspired by Beth Campbell’s combination of writing and drawing, exploring what...
Mortality Mansions @ Hudson Area Library

Mortality Mansions

Fri., March 24, 6-7:30 p.m. — “Mortality Mansions” is a song cycle by Grammy Award-winning composer Herschel Garfein...

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Mike Wolf

Hudson Valley Tweets