PUTNEY -- Twilight Music presents vaudevillian ragtime-jugband-blues-hillbilly-swing trio The Wiyos, plus the indie roots music husband/wife team of Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar (formerly of the acoustic stringband The Mammals) at Next Stage on Friday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
The internationally acclaimed Wiyos feature Michael Farkas, Teddy Weber and Sauerkraut Seth Travins on vocals, washboard, harmonica, kazoo, steel and acoustic guitars, banjo, ukulele and upright bass.
Drawing from a vast spectrum of traditional American rural and urban roots music, The Wiyos transport listeners back to the days when acoustic, handmade music could be heard on live radio and at community dances, juke joints and house parties. Their repertoire combines original compositions with covers from tin-pan alley to western swing, and features rustic sounds of the 1920s and ‘30s as well as electric post-modern sound-scapes with smart lyrics. Seamlessly fusing vintage with contemporary sounds, The Wiyos have emerged as a hallmark band in the resurgence of traditional American music over the past decade.
The Wiyos’ show is as visually exciting as it is sonically evocative. With infectious exuberance and theatricality, they create a visual spectacle in the tradition of vaudeville-esque performers such as Fats Waller, the Hoosier Hotshots and Uncle Dave Macon. The Wiyos’ current tour features music from their 2012 original song cycle "Twist," based on Frank Baum’s 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," as well as brand new tunes and older repertoire.
Formed in New York City during the summer of 2002, The Wiyos took their name from the toughest gang to prowl the streets of old New York (The Why’os, circa 1890). They have toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, France, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom. In 2009, The Wiyos were hand picked by Bob Dylan to tour for seven weeks as the opener of the Bob Dylan Show, with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp, and their CD "Broken Land Bell," was in the top 20 of the AMA charts for 14 weeks.
Woodstock, N.Y.-based Mike & Ruthy have been touring and recording together for 13 years and married for six. Michael Merenda is an artfully prolific songwriter with an indie rock soul and feather-touch vocals. The daughter of fiddle legend Jay Ungar and country singer Lyn Hardy, Ruthy Ungar is an earthy country-blues singer with the unmistakable stage presence of a natural-born performer.
Next Stage is located in the former United Church at 15 Kimball Hill. Tickets are $17 general, $15 for students and seniors. For reservations and information, call 802-254-9276. Advance tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com and Offerings Jewelry in Putney. JD McCliment’s Pub will provide a beer and wine cash bar.