The Mammals | Sunshiner

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by The Mammals

Indie grit, earthy soul, and boldly political stringband fervor spanning euphoric fiddle tunes and masterful songwriting. "[The Mammals] get right to the heart of the fight for the American soul.”- No Depression
Genre: Folk: Singer/Songwriter
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Make It True
3:03 $0.99
2. Open the Door
3:39 $0.99
3. Culture War
3:26 $0.99
4. Beautiful One
2:02 $0.99
5. Fork in the Road
3:25 $0.99
6. Doctor's Orders
4:06 $0.99
7. The Flood
3:31 $0.99
8. Maple Leaf
4:28 $0.99
9. Sunshiner
5:05 $0.99
10. Stayin' up Late
3:52 $0.99
11. Lilac Breeze
3:19 $0.99
12. My Baby Drinks Water
2:26 $0.99
13. When My Story Ends
2:57 $0.99
14. Big Ideas
10:11 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
THE MAMMALS Think, Dance, Feel on new album, Sunshiner.

Americana trailblazers, The Mammals, bring indie grit, earthy soul, and boldly political stringband fervor to their re-emergent new album and US tour in 2018. Sunshiner features 14 original songs and comes out April 20 on their own label, Humble Abode Music. In an era of human disconnect, The Mammals are awakening new listeners to authentic, handmade, roots music and reconnecting generations thru their truth-telling lyrics, euphoric instrumentals, and message of hope.

Sunshiner bottles The Mammals’ on-stage effervescence and lyrical prowess along with some beautiful studio magic. The album bursts open with the soaring, up-tempo “Make It True.” There's a palpable hope on this track, written by the band’s banjo/guitar wordsmith Mike Merenda. It's sung as a duet with fiddler/vocalist Ruth Ungar and features the driving energy of Konrad Meissner on drums, Jacob Silver on bass, Ken Maiuri on 12-string and the soaring pedal steel of Charlie Rose. Their harmonies, harmonica, and jangling guitars hint at The Byrds, Fleet Foxes, and something distinctly "Mammalian." As the refrain sings, "There’s a better world in store / And we somedays sing the blues / Somedays sing those harmonies too, yeah we do / And we'll one day sing those words that will make it true."

Over a decade ago, in The Mammals’ first incarnation (which featured founding member Tao Rodriguez-Seeger) the Washington Post described them as, “gleefully aware that the sound barriers separating old-timey music, vintage pop and contemporary folk are as permeable as cotton.” This new record has that same genre bending playfulness on full display, evoking Laura Nyro on Ungar’s intimate, spine-tingling piano number “Stayin’ Up Late” and surrounding the listener with a lush, electric, indie-folk swirl on “The Flood.”

“It’s basically ‘think, dance, feel’” says Ungar of the repertoire on Sunshiner. Songs like “Culture War,” “Beautiful One,” and “My Baby Drinks Water,” spotlight The Mammals’ legacy of speaking their minds with logic and reason. Then they whoop up a ruckus with fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass and drums as if to stomp the last shreds of concern into oblivion. And it’s no secret that some of their songs, particularly Ungar’s country blues and jazz-tinged numbers, will make a grown mammal cry. And that’s ok too. It’s all part of working our way through this tricky chapter of human history.

It's true, The Mammals were always known for their rabble-rousing musical statements which sometimes caused a stir with politically divided audiences from Louisiana to Michigan. "If you tell the whole truth you won't please everyone," smiles Mike Merenda whose 2004 Mammals staple "The Bush Boys" made the Dixie Chicks seem downright polite.

During The Mammals “hibernation” period Merenda continued to write dozens of political songs and considered releasing them all together for a project called ’69 Protest Songs.’ “But a full album of topical lyrics is too much to absorb,” says Mike. “When Pete [Seeger] sang heavy activist anthems he couched each one in a fun setlist that kept the energy shifting and flowing. We’ve grown up a bit, and we’re doing our best to carry on that tradition.”

This time around The Mammals’ goals are two-fold: raise positive social awareness & have a good party! These folks will stop at nothing to bring people together to a place of positivity.

The song, Sunshiner, is a subtle and smile-inducing sing-along with hope for the future. “Yes, my Daddy was a miner / But I’m gonna be a Sunshiner” croons Merenda who penned the song last year even before learning that solar panels are now installed on the roof of the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum. If that’s not hopeful I don’t know what is.



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