Monday, June 18, 2018

Voices of Experience: When My Story Ends

Music can touch and heal that secret wound of the soul which nothing else can reach.  ~ Debasish Mridha

The Mammals are an indie-roots trailblazing band founded by Mike + Ruthy (Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar). In the group’s first incarnation (which featured founding member Tao Rodriguez-Seeger) the band energized audiences in the ‘00s with its “Trad is Rad” folk message. 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.”

Today the dynamic five-piece Americana quintet from New York’s storied Hudson Valley is carrying on the work of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie with indie grit, earthy soul, and boldly political stringband fervor. In an era of human disconnect, The Mammals are awakening new listeners to authentic, handmade, roots music and reconnecting generations through their truth-telling lyrics, euphoric instrumentals, and message of hope. Their new album Sunshiner honors the past, nurtures positive visions of the future, and finds truth and kindness in the present.

Sunshiner also marks The Mammals’ emergence from a multi-year hibernation. For the past eight years Mike + Ruthy toured with their two small children behind six albums as a duo and launched a bi-annual folk festival called "The Hoot" near their hometown of Woodstock, NY. Rodriguez-Seeger has since retired from the music business altogether.

Here Ruth Ungar explains what inspired her to write one of the songs featured on their Sunshiner album:

When My Story Ends is a song I wrote after my good friend Hubie died suddenly. Even though we hardly saw each other for those last few years, the idea of never sharing another hug or another conversation really stung. I send this song out to anyone who has lost someone special. Letting go is important, but it goes against our instincts. I have my own very particular view of spirituality which maybe comes thru in this song. I've never been drawn to big religion, but I hope the song leaves the door open to all types of believers and non-believers to share some emotional common ground.


Oh I hope I get to say goodbye to all my friends 
when my story ends, when my story ends.
And if I don’t I pray that we have made amends, 
when my story comes to an end. 

All the ones who’ve gone before me 
they’re around me now, they’re around me now 
though I don’t know how. 
And they’re tellin’ me their stories 
and they’re tellin me they’re proud. 
I can hear them talkin’ now. 

When my breath is still 
and the light leaves my eye, 
I’ll take one look around 
and I’ll take to the sky. 
I don’t know exactly when 
I don’t know exactly why 
but I might hang my head and cry. 

What do you see in the trees 
or the soaring of a dove? 
Is it a father’s plan 
or a mother’s love? 
Or a universe that’s swirlin’ 
in the stars up above? 
I don’t know but it fits me like a glove. 

And I hope I get to say goodbye to all my friends 
when my story ends, when my story ends. 
And if I don’t I pray that we have all made amends, 
when my story comes to an end. 
Oh, when my story comes to an end. 


Mike Merenda guitar
Ruth Ungar vocals, guitar
Konrad Meissner drums and percussion
Jacob Silver bass
Charlie Rose pedal steel
Ken Maiuri piano
Produced by Mike Merenda, Ruth Ungar, and Adam Armstrong
Released April 20, 2018 • Humble Abode Music
All songs by M. Merenda / R. Ungar, Shake Sugaree Music, ASCAP
Recorded by Adam Armstrong at Humble Abode Music in West Hurley, NY
Mixed by Adam Armstrong
Additional engineering by Robin MacMillan at Faraway Sound in NYC
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in NYC

Contact The Mammals via:
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