When I first heard about the Winter Hoot ahead of the 2015 event, I pictured a lot of bearded Brooklyn transplants hanging out, drinking craft beers and listening to music on wooden benches. I didn’t anticipate that it would be a family friendly affair with lots of parents and their tots in tow or in slings listening to music sitting on wooden benches. The Winter Hoot is an annual event thrown by the Mike + Ruthy Band that will be returning for its fourth iteration in January. The Hoot will have fun for all ages including, “the ever-popular blacksmithing demos, sledding, all-ages crafts in the FiberFlame room (leave your child for an additional childcare fee), an array of upstairs parent-child activities, an instrument petting zoo by Hungry For Music (please bring an instrument to donate to kids in need) and intimate mini-concerts in the Pewter Shop filmed and recorded by Beehive Productions.” The Pewter Sessions were a particular highlight, I caught David Wax Museum there and the Hoot has archived some clips on YouTube here.
I really enjoyed their vibrant folk sound when I saw them, so much so that I went to catch Mike + Ruthy perform in New York City twice afterwards including once at a Fracking awareness show at Brooklyn Bowl and another time at Rockwood Music Hall in July, where they performed songs from their newest album Bright As You Can and invited friends like Aoife O’Donovan on stage to join them. A particularly large crowd gathered on stage near the end of the show as everyone took part in a sing-along of “On My Way Home” (which I captured as video below). Their shows are fun, friendly and intimate and anyone who likes their home-spun Americana served with jollity would be wise to catch them live.