Over countless miles on the ribbon of highway, playing gigs in wood-stove-warmed living rooms one month and Carnegie Hall the next, husband-wife singing songwriters Mike Merenda (guitar, banjo) and Ruthy Ungar (guitar, fiddle) have built a troubadour life inclusive of family. Ruthy, daughter of Grammy Award-winning Jay Ungar (“Ashokan Farewell”) and folksinger Lyn Hardy, was born to it. She first appeared onstage at age three, and joined her dad on ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ at twelve. After studying theater and living the thespian life, she met aspiring playwright and fellow floor-sleeping New York denizen Mike Merenda. An erstwhile guitar thrasher of the punk and ska variety, Mike was grieving the loss of three close friends in succession. Mike + Ruthy heard and felt the songs in one another, and two paths leading away from music became one consumed by it. They headed for the hills, embracing life as a duo ” musical and otherwise.
Today Mike + Ruthy can honestly say that music is their life. The couple now take to the road with their two children when they aren’t planning Summer and Winter Hoots at the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge, New York (home to Jay Ungar and Molly Mason’s music and dance camps). These music events were inspired by the spirit of comradery that crops up at festivals where players and audience members come together over songs. Mike and Ruthy came to Beehive Studios in Saranac Lake, New York, to record acoustic versions of songs from their latest collection, ‘Bright as You Can’ and to warm the hearts of everyone with their lovely songs and kind words for each other.