Biography

About Aaron & Michael

What metaphor for the past year serves better than standing in the shadow of an approaching cyclone? 

Cello-based songwriters are rare, and the alt-folk duo of Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt take advantage of Ronstadt’s adventurous and wildly creative technique to face our shared disaster, head-on. 

Philadelphia based guitarist /songwriter Aaron Nathans and Cincinnati cellist / songwriter Michael G. Ronstadt present their third album, the rich, dark and foreboding Shadow of the Cyclone, released October 1. With sobering clarity the duo weave intricate metaphors in the form of fallen saviors (“Strongman”), a Leonard Cohen-esque embrace of the anti-hero (“I Go Low”), and straightforward accounts of our loss of empathy (“Sinner’s Bible”). These songs hint at a sense of just retribution for the troubles we’ve brought upon ourselves, while “Haunted House” and “Come on Sun” coax a sense of levity and hope while accepting our brutal present. 

As an acoustic duo, the two create a compelling musical palate. Ronstadt’s cello lines are reminiscent of the live-layered magic of Zoe Keating, and his songwriting reflects the creative diversity of Paul Simon. He weaves intricate patterns around Nathans’ baritone voice, studied folk meters and dash of irony in the tradition of David Wilcox and Dar Williams. As multi-instrumentalists the two play a total of 33 distinct instruments between them while Serenity Fisher guests on piano and vocals, Stan Ginn on drums, Phil Henry on backing vocals and percussion and Ciara Grace on backing vocals. 

Ronstadt, nephew of Queen of Rock Linda Ronstadt and a member of a family with a rich musical heritage, holds a master’s degree in cello performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Nathans is an award-winning songwriter and a leader in Philadelphia’s community of songwriters. 

Shadow of the Cyclone brings in fans of folk, Americana and singer-songwriters who are seeking refuge from the storm that 2020 has unleashed on us. 

Solo Sites

Press

This is an engaging, warm and intimate collaboration between songwriter Aaron Nathans and songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Michael G. Ronstadt... Throughout the songs are stirring and they leave you thinking. A thoroughly satisfying and stimulating effort.

Michael Tearson

SingOut! Magazine

Aaron and Michael are amazing musicians and songwriters. Their first album ‘Crooked Fiddle’ is a masterpiece of modern folk - beautiful, introspective, funny, earthy, and wonderful... I want another album from these guys, and soon.

Matt Casarino

Delaware comedy duo HotBreakfast!

We think Aaron’s journalistic storytelling skills paired with Michael’s unique instrumental (and songwriting) chops will continue to spin gold for as long as they choose to work together — a lengthy time, we hope!

Richard Cuccaro

Acoustic Live in NYC

Nathans and Ronstadt are cashmere. Music you would want to get closer to and not be overwhelmed by. The well-thought-out approaches here are smooth with poignant tales filled with sincerity. Like many Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits songs, these tunes can linger in your ears and follow you into bed where you will be looking up at the ceiling with your eyes closed in the dark and the melodies still partying into your sleep.

John Apice

No Depression

Like hydrogen atoms when they fuse, they release tremendous energy. Musically, they come from different worlds. Aaron is a clever songwriter whose greatest strength is his wit and use of language. Michael is a conservatory trained cello virtuoso who reveals a winning playfulness when he performs… They take your mind places it has not been before.

Gordon Nash

Wise Madness