Red Molly Paints the Town Red
with a Molten Performance in Ringwood
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The well respected folk rock trio Red Molly has graced international stages. On Sunday July 13, 2014 they thrilled a full capacity crowd in a return visit to the New Legacy Concert Series at the Ringwood Public Library. Red Molly is on tour for much of 2014 supporting their latest, highly acclaimed The Red Album.

Red Molly Paints the Town Red with a Molten Performance in Ringwood, New Jersey
Red Molly returned to Ringwood in 2014.

Red Molly is a powerhouse vocal group. Although their roots are bluegrass and folk their songs run the range from ballads of break-ups to barn-burning honky tonk. Red Molly's current line-up is Abbie Gardner (Dobro), Laurie MacAllister (bass) and Molly Venter (guitar). All three also have successful solo careers. Their show at the New Legacy Concert Series was a combination of their individual songs along with plenty of music from the new CD.

The ladies wore dresses with cowboy boots perhaps a nod to their feminine yet foot stomping musical style. Red Molly opened with the country flavored "Honey On My Grave" followed by the catchy "Walk Beside Me". Separately they were strong singers and players collectively Red Molly soared.

"Hello Ringwood, New Jersey," greeted Red Molly. The ladies paid tribute to Doc and Rosalie Watson with a heartfelt bittersweet story of loss. They honored Darrell Scott by performing "With a Memory Like Mine" a tune referencing trains with Red Molly crafting the feel of travel with their instruments. The a cappella "Copper Ponies" demonstrated the vibrancy of Red Molly's voices. "Homeward Bound" was a beautiful blend of multi-part singing with the Dobro adding different elements to the Simon and Garfunkel classic.

With a joke about getting ready to do some over the top effects, Red Molly continued to let their musicianship memorize the audience. They did not need or use any effect pedals or other tools of the trade. Moving from folk to the blues the ladies put a unique spin on Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen". They took some liberty with the saucy tune to affirm women. "Willow Tree" penned by Molly was a visual look at life cycles.

Between songs there was commentary from the ladies along with a pitch for the The Red Album. Apparently, Red Molly does not price their CDs; instead it is a "pay what you want" policy. They concluded the first set with a snappy yet sad story ("1952 Vincent Black Lightning") of a renegade, a girl and a motorcycle. We learned that the band name Red Molly was based on a character from this Richard Thompson song.

They kicked off the second set with a swinging western called "Why Should I Cry". "Work I Done" shared snippets of life occupations and was a song that was inspired by the ideas of change and family explained Venter. "Clinch River Blues" juxtaposed delightful harmonies with a dark instrumental undercurrent. "When It's All Wrong" another new track from The Red Album kept with the theme of darkness with a dramatic Dobro solo punctuating the points of the piece.

Red Molly's set was a fine mix of classics and new material. They had a warm and winsome stage presence combined with first-rate musicianship. Some of their songs were about broken relationships including their closer that melded an up-tempo, hand clapping country twang with the tale of another broken bond. Their encore was "May I Suggest" written by Susan Werner. It was a three part vocal piece about counting one's blessings.

Red Molly is one of many popular artists who have performed at the New Legacy Concert Series. Since 2002 the RPL has been hosting concerts that have included the likes of Amy Helm, Dar Williams, Jorma, Marcia Ball, Steve Forbert and more. Upcoming musical events at the RPL are Wooster Street Trolley and Cheryl Wheeler.

Red Molly Paints the Town Red with a Molten Performance in Ringwood, New Jersey
The colorful Red Molly brought their talents to New Jersey's New Legacy Concert Series.

Related Links: For more information on RED MOLLY and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Red Molly | New Legacy Concert Series | Shemekia Copeland in Ringwood | Alexis P. Suter in Ringwood

(Originally Published on July 14, 2014)

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