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Million to One

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Album Review

Mike Merenda and Ruthy Ungar met, fell in love, and married while they were members of the Mammals, a folk band that was based in old-time music, but stretched the boundaries of the genre with an approach that added bluegrass, rock, and blues to the template. They were mostly acoustic, but eventually added a drummer and started moving toward mainstream pop. When the Mammals went on permanent hiatus, Mike and Ruthy stepped out as a duo and, with Million to One, their third album, they indulge their more folk-rock tendencies, at times even rocking out, albeit with a folky restraint. "Who's Who" sounds like the Rolling Stones on one of their country side trips. Ruthy's fiddle plays credible lead guitar lines, and the duo's "Who's who" refrain echoes the "who hoo" from "Sympathy for the Devil." Mike spews out a Dylanesque lyric full of incomprehensible word salad. Other strong rockers include "End of Time," a straightforward investigation of a relationship hovering between pleasure and pain with the duo delivering a whispered vocal while a decidedly un-country pedal steel guitar gently weeps in the background; "Covered," a thumping blues with a hint of gospel and fine harmony vocals; and "Be the Boss," a 4/4 rocker with ebullient call-and-response vocals and a muddy piano mixed in to give the track a vintage sound. Most of the songs deal with love in its various guises and show off the duo's winning lyrical and melodic style. "All the Way Down" is a jazzy soft rock tune with warm harmonies, humorous lyrics, and cheerful chiming guitar. "On the Road" is about the life of a traveling band, but without the usual rock angst. Its cheerful pedal steel and the sunny vocals give the tune a feel of contented melancholy. The quiet vocals on "That's What I Call Love" are almost lost in the mix, but the rippling guitars and the long sustained notes of the electric bass complement Ruthy's moody muddled vocal. Grace notes from a glockenspiel and the syncopated thump of a bass drum drive "Summer Sun." It wraps up the album adding an exotic hint of Middle Eastern modality to its undulating rhythm. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

the real deal

this is the real deal, y'all. independent folk music in the best american tradition. you can feel the sentiments that run through mike and ruthy's work; love, dedication, and joy. music is not just about money and fame, it's about tradition and inheritance; history and the future. check it out ; )

The best music you can find today!

I am not one to write a music review. But, I must put fingers to keypad to exclaim enthusiastically for this album. They are not only wonderful musicians, but terrific, down to earth people bringing real music to all of us. Not the usual top 10 pap that is spoon fed to the masses on the ride to work. You will not regret the download, and listen to it on your way to work. You will be smiling as you walk in the door. It will make your day better. A real joy to listen to...

Million to One, Mike & Ruthy
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Customer Ratings