Review Archive

‘The Red Album’ - Red Molly - "... assured vocals, touching uncertainty and palpable presence"

(June 23, 2014)

No doubt about it, an album from Red Molly is always enervating – raw and ready folk, Americana edge, allied with country passion – no prisoners taken, no quarter asked for, take it as it is. Just getRed Molly-The Red Album cover yourself ready to dive right in and live with Red Molly’s music. Gutsy, assured vocals alternate with touching uncertainty and all the while exuding a palpable presence. Their latest offering, ‘The Red Album’ shows off the same tight as you like harmonies, rocking vibrant energy, string-driven dexterity, deep-seated mournful ballads and soul-searching realism, in fact all we’ve come to expect but possibly ever so slightly darker.

This time there are eight originals plus some startling covers of classics ranging from Paul Simon’s ultimate road-song ‘Homeward Bound’ through Darrell Scott’s heart-breaking ‘With a Memory Like Mine’ to Richard Thompson’s definitive ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’. Now, if you’re going to cover such icons you’d better have a different take and something to contribute. Well I reckon Simon, Scott and Thompson could not be disappointed. The Red Molly originals include the hard truth and essential hope of ‘I Am Listening’, the gloriously painful emotion of ‘You Don’t Have the Heart for It’ the upbeat drive of ‘My Baby Loves Me’ with its perfect lap steel accents and the quietly emotive‘Sing To Me’. And one more time for luck - ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ - if this take on Thompson’s ballad doesn’t rank among the most moving you’ve heard, I’ll eat the footrests of my 1972 Harley Davidson.

Red Molly are Laurie MacAllister (vocals lead and harmony, bass,) Abbie Gardner (vocals lead and harmony, dobro, high strung acoustic guitar, piano) and Molly Venter (vocals lead and harmony, piano, acoustic guitar) and joining them on selected tracks across ‘The Red Album’ are Ken Coomer (drums, percussion, stomps,) Craig Akin (electric bass, bowed bass, upright bass, claps, whistle) Adam Ollendorff (electric guitar, pedal steel, high-strung acoustic guitar, baritone electric guitar) and Herb Gardener (trombone).

And the good news is Red Molly are heading this way for an Ireland and UK tour (details on Red Molly website) and I for one shall be there to hear them.

You can find Red Molly and ‘The Red Album’ here:

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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