Over a decade ago while living in Maine, I attended an outdoor fiddle festival and happened upon the amazing music of The Mammals (“Hi, we’re The Mammals, and so are you”). Now sadly defunct, their musicians have gone their separate ways. I keep tabs on one of the resulting projects — the duo of the original two members playing together now as a husband-and-wife combo simply called “Mike & Ruthy“. I heard they were coming to Boston to play at the Brighton Music Hall, opening for a band I was unfamiliar with. But the endorsement of former members of The Mammals is good enough for me, so I got my tickets to go see Elephant Revival.
I was blown away.
They’re young, attractive, and blisteringly talented. They could be considered bluegrass, or even “newgrass” but, like The Mammals, that doesn’t really completely encompass their sound. Sure, there’s the usual complement of guitar, banjo, upright bass, fiddle and washboard — but what they build out of it is so much more.
Back before I left my own singing voice behind, I dreamt of one day being part of a group like this, even for a little while, a night or two a week, casually. Being the offspring of two incredibly musically talented people, I couldn’t help but try. I don’t know, but I feel like Elephant Revival probably met like that, jamming around the living room and eventually playing out. I don’t reach for that dream anymore but sometimes, listening to this music, I feel like it’s not totally out of reach. But there’s only so much time in a life, and I prefer to place beauty in the world in different ways. I’ll leave this kind of beauty up to those who chose it and do it well.