“Where words fail … music speaks.”
That simple line atop Elephant Revival’s Facebook page contains only five words, but reveals volumes about the band’s reason for being. Music unites us in ways that no other medium can. Even when we don’t understand one another’s languages — we can be moved by a rhythm, soothed by a song. Brought together by a unified sense of purpose — the spirit of five souls working as one, in harmony, creating sounds they could never produce alone.
The five souls in Elephant Revival are Sage Cook (banjo, guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, bass and fiddle); Bridget Law (fiddle, octave fiddle); Bonnie Paine (washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox); Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo, bass); and Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo). All share vocals and write songs. Paine delivers additional beats via footstomps on plywood, her stockinged feet doing near jigs as her hands, encased in antique leather gloves, rub silver nickel against corrugated metal.
This Nederland, Colo., quintet are, needless to say, quite a sound to be experienced — especially when they fall into the pocket of a groove containing elements of gypsy, rock, Celtic, alt-country and folk.
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.
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.