The Wiyos have been rolling for over a decade. They were one of the first "old-timey" bands to emerge on the national scene in the first wave of acoustic bands riding the renewed popularity of early swing jazz, rural folk, old-time blues and Appalachian music. Their relentless touring in the US and Europe, and numerous critically acclaimed albums and EPs landed them a full 28-day summer tour as openers of the 2009 Bob Dylan Show. The Wiyos were also featured in the BBC television documentary, “Folk America – Hollerers, Stompers and Old-Time Ramblers”. In 2010 they were featured in the BBC television special "No Sleep 'Til Yell".
In 2012, The Wiyos released their fan-funded concept album, Twist, a 14-track eclectic musical collage loosely based on The Wizard Of Oz. Twist is undoubtedly The Wiyos' strongest and boldest work to date. Of course, The Wiyos are mostly known for their amalgamation of "old timey" sounds, but on Twist the band lets their late 20th Century upbringings creep in with their vintage sensibility. Scotland's The Herald reviewed one of the 2012 release shows of Twist in Glasgow and called it [everything from] "junkyard blues to Cuban neighborhood via surf song harmonies and backwoods Appalachia... a fascinating travelogue" Other reviewers write of Twist:
"Revelatory original songs" -Chicago Tribune
“A surreal Americana opus—Big Pink meets Pink Floyd." -Chronogram Magazine
“Sounds a bit Lennon/McCartney, circa the Summer of Love” -AmericanaUK
“Wonderful, weird and at times scary - it’s well worth checking out!” BBC Radio Scotland
In 2013 The Wiyos (Michael Farkas, Teddy Weber and Sauerkraut Seth Travins) return to their roots, leaving some of the electricity of the Twist tours in the studio and reintroducing Michaels legendary washboard. The Woodstock Times writes "the fact that it is getting harder to pigeonhole their style(s) is perhaps the best indicator of their growth." They have been continually unveiling new material and re-interpreting their own 6-album catalogue. In 2013 The Wiyos are booked for select shows in the US (including a family concert at Carnegie Hall), a UK tour and there’s even rumors of another album in the making.
Artist Website: thewiyos.com.
Mike + Ruthy: Thousands of concerts across tens-of-thousands of miles and Ruth Ungar & Mike Merenda have emerged as one of acoustic America’s most revered musical duos.
Mike: “We do this Pete Seeger song, ‘Oh Had I a Golden Thread,” and by way of introduction we often acknowledge Pete for all his work in helping people to believe in humanity. After a concert recently a fan approached us and said, ‘You know, you guys do that too.’ I was elated.”
As story-tellers, as singers, as poets, as parents (they tour with their two small children), Mike + Ruthy are heralds of an American cultural awakening, one that values honesty and togetherness, one that prefers grit to glitz and one that - in the face of an information super-highway - revels in the old-fashioned telling of a story.
Two guitars, a fiddle, a banjo, a ukulele, a stool with a glass of water and a few harmonicas elegantly surround a single microphone. Nothing is plugged in as Mike + Ruthy curl around that one mic like you would a fire pit on a chilly night, their voices swirl and rise like the fire smoke itself.
The intimacy of their performance is more akin to a night you once had listening to music around a friend’s kitchen table. Their songs are divine, their delivery breath-taking, but it’s the charm which they bring to the stage that cannot be overstated.
Ruthy: “After a recent show a fan approached me and said, ‘Wow! I feel like I know your life story!’”
Summed up nicely by New York arts & culture monthly, Chronogram, “Mike + Ruthy, who’ve been on the music-making road together for over a decade, shine both individually and as a two- voiced entity; he’s a folkie with a pop heart full of catchy choruses; she’s a vocal hotshot bringing the house down armed with only a resophonic ukulele. Together, they go a long way toward restoring love’s good name.”
Described as “rich, vintage Americana” by Time Out NY, Mike + Ruthy’s 2012 Woody Guthrie collaboration “My New York City” is being hailed as one of the most gorgeous pieces ever to have come out of the archive.
“Some of the best songwriting of their generation.” - LA Weekly
“Easily a new favorite.” - Daytrotter
“Mike + Ruthy are a national treasure.” - Anais Mitchell
Artist Website: mikeandruthy.com.