VENUE: Loring-Greenough House, 12 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA. 02130 - http://www.lghouse.org
TICKETS: $12 day of show, ($10 if reserved in advance through Friday, June 8) - email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike is a wordsmith, vocalist and guitarist who has long recognized that a good song has the ability to improve the world. On both an intensely personal and universal level Merenda’s work strives to entertain as well as illuminate. His early fascination with the socially conscious writings of Bob Marley and Bob Dylan met head-on with the arrival of young, smart, outspoken artists such as Ani Difranco and Dan Bern, furthering the young writer’s blossoming ideology that politics need not be polarizing and dry, but alive, vibrant and inspiring.
“Ruth Ungar is the daughter of Jay Ungar and Lyn Hardy, two musicians who have kept American folk traditions stoked. Ungar spent her childhood amidst all manner of string instruments and the visitations of members of New York’s Jewgrass gang. She met songwriter Michael Merenda in the late 90’s and, after hearing him perform an original tune, asked him to play it again, whereupon she promptly sang a part in perfect harmony. Thus began a professional and romantic relationship . . . Ungar is a sensational singer . . . Merenda is one of the best songwriters of his generation - literate, political, melodic, alternately angry and satirical and sensual.” - Michael Simmons, High Times
Their travels with the internationally acclaimed string-band The Mammals have made them exceedingly comfortable on stage. Familiar yet enigmatic, Michael and Ruth Merenda are talents to watch in this songwriting renaissance of the 21st century.
Torey Adler is a guitar-picking wordsmith and a builder of well-crafted, hardwearing songs. He might be young, but he sounds as though he learned to play in the rural South of the '30s, then came of age in the halcyon days of New York City punk. On this icy winter day in Massachusetts farm country, the dash of his pickup truck is cluttered with CDs of Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, Otis Redding, and Skip James. The Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed is playing, loudly, as he downshifts hard into a turn. He is talking about the term "folk-music". "Everything is folk music that folks can play" he says, grinning. "Rock, Adult Contemporary, (he puts an emphasis on the industry term that suggests disdain) pop, country, it's all folk. But I understand what the audience means when they use the term 'folk' and it's different from what a scholar means. In the clubs, my music is folk because I play an acoustic guitar. In my mind I sing modern literature with traditional sounding chords." Whatever it is, audiences are starting to respond. At tonight's concert they start to sing along with "This Land is Your Land", a song he introduces as "Our real national anthem". A woman in the crowd confides to me later that she has to consider Bruce Springsteen in a new light after hearing "Thunder Road" broken down over sparse ukulele accompaniment. But every request during the show calls for one of Torey's own songs, more remarkable for the fact that most of them are not yet released. His guitar ranges from soft and haunting finger-style airs to driving, punkish romps. His lyrics tell stories, capture stills of urban drama. Torey paints a tableau of the American landscape; highways and depots, cars and trains, of bedeviled loners and innocent girls always moving and always wanting.Rarely does an artist emerge on the scene with a voice so completely his own who so clearly belongs to a deep folklore. There is tradition behind his words, but you’ve never heard it like this before.
"His sound has roots in old blues, folk and early rock, with a real American sound that smacks of urban grit, dusty back roads, adventure and heartbreak." -Sarah Craig, Caffe Lena
"He is a savvy stylist on the six-string, the music coils around his acoustic anthems and swings to countrified rhythms all the while tinged with the hint of a bluesy sorrow or bursting in an outright celebration of grooves."-Thomas Dimopoulos, The Saratogian
"A truly powerful writer / performer, Torey unifies the quiet wisdom of a Zen master and the straight honesty of Johnny Cash with wry lyrics and growling guitar licks torn from the roots of rock and roll"-Bob Warren, Singer / Songwriter
Sharon Lewis (Pooka) & Rose Polenzani (Voices on the Verge)
Friday, July 20 2007, 7:30P
Danielle Miraglia & Tom Bianchi
Saturday, Aug 4 2007, 7:30P (may change to late September)
Brian Webb w/ Carrie Cheron
Saturday, Aug 11 2007, 7:30P
Dave Carter Tribute
Jaded Mandolin w/ Eliza Blue