Mouths of Babes
“If I was forced to categorize it, I’d call it modern folk. It’s powerful, romantic, and giddy. And the two are insanely infectious together onstage, like a musical and a personal love fest all at once.“ – Huffington Post
With more than a dozen albums and over a thousand shows between them, Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth of Mouths of Babes are no strangers to the contemporary folk music scene. For years, their respective bands Girlyman and Coyote Grace captivated thousands of loyal fans as they criss-crossed the country, rocked festival main stages, and toured with the likes of the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams. Now, as Mouths of Babes, Ty and Ingrid have distilled the very best of the songwriting, musicianship, and humor of their previous groups into a new duo that brings more style and depth than ever before.
Mouths of Babes recorded their highly anticipated first full-length album, Brighter In the Dark at Prairie Sun Studios in northern California last summer on the strength of a wildly successful, 800-backer, $56,000 Kickstarter campaign. Released in January 2017, the self-produced album contains twelve original songs with contrasting themes of light and dark, tragedy and comedy, personal and political. Mixed by Stewart Lerman (Dar Williams, Bob Dylan), Brighter features guest appearances from Birds of Chicago, Tania Elizabeth (The Avett Brothers), Mai Bloomfield (Jason Mraz) and others.
No Depression writes, “Mouths of Babes could never have predicted how necessary Brighter In The Dark [would be] in a post-Trump world. The album title is fitting. We need music that shows people struggling against social expectations, that reminds us that we all have the resilience we need to make it through.” And the Thinking Lyrically blog gives the album 9 stars out of 10: “An eclectic arsenal of songs, showcasing their knack for fusing blues, folk, and soul with poetic lyrics [and] great choruses…an incredibly versatile record. One of my new favourite listens.”
The key to the Mouths of Babes magic is in the contrast; the differences in both their songwriting and personal styles makes for an unusually satisfying yin and yang. The Chicago Tribune writes, “They offer unique counterpoints to one another…the laidback Ty, nattily dressed in a tie and crisp suit jacket, has a rich, lovely alto. Ingrid, clad in a sultry pink satin mini-dress, is a sassy chanteuse with a lilting soprano. Trading jokes and sharing elegant harmonies, the two women display an intuitive professional bond.” They easily switch off lead vocals and play a wide array of instruments, with Ty on acoustic and electric guitars and foot percussion, and Ingrid playing upright bass, ukulele, and cajon.
Onstage, Ty makes a quiet impression as a gifted lyricist, talented multi-instrumentalist, and magnetic presence. “The poignant honesty that Ty brings to [her] tunes gives them an emotional intensity that’s as bracing as it is moving,” says Relix Magazine. The Americana Gazette writes, “Ty’s practice of extending metaphors out toward a precipice keeps an unpredictable edge to her songs. Most writers would stop at the easy close. Ty jumps, leaving much to the imagination, to powerful effect.” Ingrid, a natural performer, easily commands audiences with her larger-than-life sassiness and professional dancer’s grace. “With a background in burlesque, sex-education, and good ol’ American roots music,” writes Kithfolk, “Ingrid Elizabeth brings a ton of charisma to her performances.” Curve Magazine calls Ingrid “the fiery redheaded bassist…the unabashed, unapologetic woman who isn’t afraid to yell it all from the rooftops.”
Both Ingrid and Ty come from notable musical families, and their influences (namely, 60’s folk music and Motown) are deeply embedded in Mouths of Babes’ sound. Ty’s father, Ron Greenstein, is a member of the legendary folk harmony trio The Chad Mitchell Trio (where John Denver got his start), while Ingrid’s uncle Tom Eyen wrote the world-famous, Tony-winning musical Dreamgirls. MTV News writes: “The songs Mouths of Babes writes and performs together fuse blues, folk, and soul, and the depth of emotion found in their lyrics is reminiscent of all that’s moving about the Dreamgirls soundtrack.”
“Hands down the best new music I’ve heard in years. It’s damn near perfect. The instrumental performances, the arrangements, the production, the songwriting and singing…this is the kind of music that makes you glad to be alive.” – Michael Mullane, Cafe Veritas