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Album Review

The veritable supergroup of folk offspring the Mammals' debut release, Evolver, showcases the trio's desire to push traditional folk music into the next century. Tao Rodriguez-Seeger (grandson of Pete Seeger) and Ruth Ungar (daughter of Grammy-award-winning fiddler Jay Ungar) team up with singer/songwriter Michael Merenda and with the help of a handful of friends and studio musicians create a warmly inviting collection of original tunes and updated traditionals. Highlights include a subdued version of Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and the handful of Merenda-penned songs, all of which have an almost Guthrie-esque (if another folk legend can fit on this disc) honesty and humor to them. The band's only misstep comes when they try to push rock-style drumming too far into a couple of songs, almost rebelliously proving that they are not tied to the traditional structure of folk music. Small quibbles aside, the album stands as a fine document of these musicians' accomplishments in the studio and points to fine futures for all involved.

Customer Reviews


If you love the folky bluegrassy (with drums) style, you will absolutely love The Mammals. This album is wonderful and well worth the purchase

The whole CD is captivating.

This is a talented group of string musicians, who can actually write good lyrics with interesting melodies. The mammals fuse an old folk sound with an almost alternative sometimes popish feel. I would suggest Evolver to anybody who likes folk music, or has an open mind towards music in general.


Heard this band live at small venue in VT recently, and they were absolutely extraordinary. This album is a "must buy" (as well as their other albums). You will not be disappointed and will be rewarded with a great return on your investment! Great lyrics and incredible individual musicianship and energy combine to generate contemporary folk rock music at its very best!!! And, don't be surprised if you start dancing around the house.


Formed: March, 2001 in Hudson Valley, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

The pop-folk trio the Mammals came together in early 2001 after fiddler Ruth Ungar and guitarist Michael Merenda met in a local bar in New York City. Ungar, who's the daughter of famed fiddler Jay Ungar and folksinger Lyn Hardy, briefly flirted with a career in acting. While she and Merenda balanced day jobs, Nicaraguan-born banjo player Tao Rodriguez-Seeger joined the Mammals. Between Ungar's folk roots and Rodriguez-Seeger being the grandson of folk legend Pete Seeger, it was natural for the Mammals...
Full Bio
Evolver, The Mammals
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Customer Ratings