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The Arts

Next Stage presents Roots/Americana Music Festival on May 29

Cooper Field is located on Sand Hill Road in Putney. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 at the door, and kids 12 and under are free. For advance tickets and more information, visit Next Stage will provide a beer, wine, and cocktail cash bar, and Tandoori cuisine by David’s Catering will be available. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for outdoor seating on the ball field.

PUTNEY—Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present a Roots and Americana Music Festival featuring The Mammals, Corner House, and The New Domestics, as part of the 2022 Next Stage “Bandwagon Summer Series,” on Sunday, May 29, from 1 to 6 p.m., at Cooper Field in Putney. The rain date is Monday, May 30.

The Mammals are described by organizers as “a warm-blooded party band with a conscience that spans the horizons of Americana music, from soulfully harmonized indie-folk ballads to revved up fiddle and banjo-driven foot stompers.”

Led by Woodstock, N.Y.-based songwriting multi-instrumentalists Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar, the stringband features a mix of blues, Motown soul, old-timey harmonies, rock-n-roll energy, and political songwriting.

The Mammals’ latest album, Nonet, includes arrangements of ten songs “with lyrics that strike deep,” organizers say. No Depression magazine wrote that the album “brings us the defiant spirit needed to heal a damaged world”

Ungar and Merenda founded The Mammals in 2000 with Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, grandson of the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger. After touring the world for the next seven years with the likes of Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger, says a news release, they “emerged as one of acoustic America’s most revered musical duos: Mike + Ruthy.”

The daughter of fiddle legend Jay Ungar and country singer Lyn Hardy, Ruthy “is an earthy country-blues singer with the unmistakable stage presence of a natural-born performer,” states the news release, while Mike “is an artfully prolific songwriter with an indie rock soul and feather-touch vocals. Together they create music to heal hearts and rouse minds.”

Originally from Boston, Corner House takes its name from the band members’ shared home in Brighton, Mass., as students at Berklee College of Music.

Emerging from varied genre backgrounds, the quartet’s unique strength is their “desire to learn from one another, not only in musical skill and style, but in life experience,” organizers say,“such that every challenge overcome by one band member becomes part of the group’s shared musical and personal DNA.”

On their debut full-length album, How Beautiful It’s Been, Ethan Hawkins (guitar), Louise Bichan (fiddle), Ethan Setiawan (mandolin), and Casey Murray (cello) “reveal the sublime result a singular sound that incorporates old time, Scottish, progressive bluegrass, and folk.”

Guitarist and songwriter Michelle Cummings Kostek and mandolinist Ed Kostek are the indie folk/rock duo The New Domestics. Melding musical influences that range from traditional jazz to Radiohead and Nickel Creek, they describe themselves as featuring soaring vocal arrangements and carefully crafted songs.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #665 (Wednesday, May 25, 2022). This story appeared on page B6.

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