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CD Review: The NYC EP

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Mike & Ruthy, The NYC EP, 2012, Humble Abode Music.
  • Mike & Ruthy, The NYC EP, 2012, Humble Abode Music.
Hudson Valley soul-folk duo Mike & Ruthy’s The NYC EP opens with “My New York City,” an archived Woody Guthrie nugget presented to the husband-wife combo by Guthrie’s daughter Nora. Initially intended for the Guthrie tribute My Name Is New York, the cinematic ode to finding love among the “black rooftops” and “a billion, jillion windows,” energized Merenda and Ungar, transporting them to their beginnings as a besotted New York couple. When the dust cleared in the Brooklyn studio in which they recorded live with a band to analog tape, one tune had begotten seven, and a rollicking, lusty, uplifting EP was born.

The NYC EP seems to track the arc of a still-unfolding love story; our hero and heroine connect in “My New York City,” long for family in chugging “I’m On My Way Home,” delight in carnality in R&B potboiler “Romance in the Dark,” hit the road in Highway 61 Revisited-sounding “Toast My Memory,” bemoan a sleepless child in blues rave-up “Oh Mama,” and salute their homeland (“Wherever the good energy is / That’s where I wanna raise my kids”) with the exuberant anthem “Raise Your Glasses High.” Mike & Ruthy, who’ve been on the music-making road together for over a decade, shine both individually and as a two-voiced entity; he’s a folkie with a pop heart full of catchy choruses; she’s a vocal hotshot bringing the house down armed with only a resophonic ukulele. Together, they go a long way toward restoring love’s good name. Mikeandruthy.com.

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