Sarah Lee Guthrie + The Mammals @ Colony


Fri, Nov 10, 2023    
8:00 pm


Colony Woodstock NY
22 Rock City Rd, Woodstock, New York

Event Type

Sarah Lee Guthrie’s lineage is undeniable. But if you close your eyes and forget that her last name is synonymous with the river legacy of a widening current of American folk music, you’d still be drawn to the clarity and soul behind her voice. There is a gentle urgency to her interpretations of the songs she sings and the classic music of her heritage. It flows from the continuity of her family, her vital artistic life today and the river of songs that have guided her to where she now stands.
It’s been hinted at since she first stepped on the stages of Wolf Trap and Carnegie Hall as a teenager in 1993 singing Pete Seeger’s “Sailin’ Down My Golden River” for sold-out audiences. But it was later when she met her husband, Johnny Irion, grandnephew of Woody Guthrie’s literary kindred spirit, John Steinbeck, that she began to embrace her birthright and her inherent gifts.
Over the last two decades on the road and in the studio, she and Johnny have created a signature pop-fused folk-rock sound that is appealing and engaging.
Sarah Lee Guthrie now ventures on a road that leads back to the rich culture of her family running through the warmth of her own bloodlines. This is rare opportunity to witness the growth of one of America’s finest young folk singers.
The Mammals
The Mammals lush 2020 album Nonet featured nine musicians and was “nothing short of sublime” according to Americana UK, bringing “the defiant spirit needed to heal a damaged world” as reported by No Depression Magazine. In 2022 the band is honored and thrilled to be performing these songs – and even newer ones – for live audiences.
Dynamic range is a hallmark of any concert by The Mammals. The quintet ensemble effortlessly spans the horizons of Americana, from soulfully harmonized indie-folk ballads to zealous fiddle and banjo-driven foot stompers.
The band’s core and founders Mike Merenda & Ruth Ungar write songs to heal hearts and rouse minds. They have recorded and performed together for two decades, as the duo Mike + Ruthy and with The Mammals. They make their home in the lush Hudson River Valley of New York where they host a thriving community folk festival called The Hoot.
Mike Merenda’s poignant lyrics paint pictures of the world we want to live in, inspired in great part by his favorite author, Daniel Quinn. With songs like What It All Is, and Beyond Civilization, his songs embrace the notion that we are all connected, to each other and to the Earth.
Ruth Ungar was raised in a folk music family and learned the fiddle at a young age. Her father is fiddler/composer Jay Ungar, known for his composition Ashokan Farewell which the band performs. She’s a courageous, earthy singer with deep roots in tradition, contributing songs of unity and empathy like Someone’s Hurting and East Side West Side.
A 2019 tour of the UK prompted this concert review from Celtic Music Radio:
“Hailed by many as Americana trailblazers, Ruth Ungar and Mike Merenda, happily married and exuding togetherness on stage, are also gently-mannered activists with well-crafted songs that successfully ask potent questions of politicians and raise issues to probe how we can improve the planet. They deliver their material persuasively and in an eloquent manner with enjoyment of their music underpinning the approach overall. The music is the motivator throughout.”