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SHORT BIO:

Since 2004, Americana trio Red Molly has been bringing audiences to their feet with gorgeous three-part harmonies, crisp musicianship, and their warm, engaging stage presence. The band consists of Laurie MacAllister (bass, banjo), Abbie Gardner (dobro, banjo) and Molly Venter (guitar). This past year, the ladies were invited to open multiple shows for music legend Willie Nelson and they performed at the venerable RockyGrass festival in CO. Their new CD "Light in the Sky" spent 20 weeks on the Americana Music Association's Top 40 radio chart and charted as Folk DJ's #3 Top Album of 2012. In 2013, the band will spend the month of March touring throughout Australia, and in August will head to Europe for the first time, for Denmark's Tonder Festival. They have also been invited to appear for the third time at NC's legendary music gathering, MerleFest. Also scheduled is a fourth appearance at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, where in September 2012 the Bristol Herald Courier dubbed Red Molly "The Twin City's sweethearts", saying the band "lit up the stage, as a massive crowd of adoring fans sat mesmerized by their silky smooth harmonies and superb musicianship."

EXTENDED BIO:

"Make room, Roches and Wailin' Jennys, Red Molly has earned a place among the elite female trios."
-John Platt, WFUV

If one word describes the new Red Molly CD, Light in the Sky, that word is joyous. Once again, with the "tick-tight arrangements, crystalline vocals and caramel harmonies" that the Boston Globe praised, Red Molly creates an album with gorgeous a cappella ballads, bluegrass-tinged folk and a touch of jazzy western swing, all done up in Red Molly's trademark three-part harmonies, signature dobro licks and inventive arrangements. The title sets the theme for the 14 tracks: optimism, joy, and excitement for the future.

Red Molly knows about optimism and joy. The band's fans, referred to as "RedHeads", have always responded to the sense that the band is a group of friends, sharing songs in their living room. That's exactly how it felt in 2004 when Laurie MacAllister (guitar, banjo, bass), Abbie Gardner (dobro, guitar) and Carolann Solebello (guitar, bass) sat around a campfire at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, singing and talking about their favorite songwriters. Knowing they had stumbled into something extraordinary, they formed Red Molly and spent the next seven years on the road.

From the start, the trio got attention with their lively, engaging stage performances. They moved quickly from NYC coffeehouses to the festival circuit in less than two years, winning notices for their performances at Merlefest, the Philadephia Folk Festival, and NPR's Mountain Stage. Between knocking out audiences from coast to coast, the trio found time to record three albums: Never Been to Vegas in 2006; 2008's Love and Other Tragedies, which spent ten weeks in the Top 15 on the Americana Chart, and 2010's James which logged four months in the Top 40 on the Americana Chart, peaking at #4, and landing at #23 in the year's Top 100. Last year, when founding member Carolann Solebello stepped down, MacAllister and Gardner asked Austin-based singer songwriter and guitarist Molly Venter to join the band. "Molly has a unique, edgy tone to her voice," MacAllister says. "Her sound is a bit pop-oriented, and while it hasn't changed our overall sound, I'd say it's a bit more gutsy, upbeat and modern."

Light in the Sky is Red Molly's first release with the newest Molly. The trio, with engineer Mark Dann at the helm, collectively produced the album. Red Molly's instrumental prowess, sparkling harmonies and strong lead vocals of the individual members are evident throughout. The band also showcases their songwriting expertise with three solid original tunes and an inventive re-imagining of Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen". Gardner's co-write with Jonathan Byrd, "Oh My Michael", sounds like a traditional Irish ballad. Her dobro adds to the song's haunted sound, while her poignant lead vocal is remarkable for its subdued emotion. Abbie and her father Herb Gardner wrote "Hello Goodbye", a fun, funky tune with a hint of ragtime. The group's harmonies suggest the 40's swing of The Andrews Sisters. Venter's "Hold It All" is a grown-up lullaby, both graceful and insightful. Gardner tweaks Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen" by adding a bridge that ups the song's emotional ante and by rewriting the lyric to make it a story of women supporting each other.

The group also puts their stamp on a collection of fine cover tunes. The album's opener, "Dear Someone", is a Gillian Welch/David Rawlings tune, given an impressive a cappella reading. The girls tip their hat twice to singer songwriter Mark Erelli, delivering a stunning cover of his power ballad "Ghost", and a fun rendition of his tongue-in-cheek "Why Should I Cry". Buddy and Julie Miller's "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger" gets an acoustic honky tonk treatment with MacAllister's teardrop-in-the-throat vocal. "Fever", the Otis Blackwell/Eddie Cooley classic, features Venter at her finest in a performance that is both cool and sultry, supported by Craig Akin's upright bass and the trio's snapping fingers. In addition to Gardner and Akin, Red Molly is joined in the studio by Ben Wittman on percussion and Jake Armerding on fiddle and mandolin.

"We were in an optimistic mood going into the studio and I think that comes across in the music," Gardner concludes. "The album title could be about the sun, the stars, or looking forward to a bright future." Venter adds: "We're having so much fun as a band right now. We're excited to see what happens next!" Light in the Sky was released on October 4, 2011. Red Molly is currently gathering material for their next CD, to be released in 2014.



Photo: Jeff Fasano

LAURIE

Laurie MacAllister dreamed of being a singer when she was a little girl - singing songs by Dolly Parton, Sheena Easton, and Olivia Newton-John at the top of her lungs into a hairbrush. A subsequent decade-long case of stage fright prevented her from performing publickly. While studying Industrial Psychology in graduate school at NYU, the urge to sing was strong enough that she began going to open mics in NYC. After a short-lived career in the field of management consulting, and landing her first gigs at the Grey Dog's Coffee in the West Village, Laurie decided to pursue singing seriously in 1998. She quit her job and became a singer/songwriter (and also a waitress). With the help of an extraordinary friend, Cheryl Prashker, she released an album of original songs called These Old Clothes in 1999. In 2000, she met Cliff Eberhardt and began singing backup for him at venues around the country, developing a passion for harmony singing, and began the process of overcoming her stage fright. Cliff produced Laurie's next album, called The Things I Choose To Do, which was purchased and released by Barnes & Noble. In 2004, at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Laurie formed Red Molly with Abbie Gardner and Carolann Solebello; just two short years later, due the growing success of the band, she was able to leave waitressing behind forever. Playing about 100 shows a year as part of Red Molly for the last six years has been Laurie's dream come true. Laurie recently landed her first national television spot, singing the jingle in a 2010 Folgers Coffee commercial. Her plan for the future is to have a blast making music with Abbie and the new addition to Red Molly, Molly Venter.



Photo: Annabel Braithwaite

ABBIE

Abbie Gardner has listened to the sweet sound of high lonesome harmonies since her first bluegrass festival at three years old. Her father, Herb Gardner, is a swing jazz and stride pianist and dixieland trombonist. Watching him laugh as he went off to "work" every day was her first introduction to the joy of being a musician. Abbie's first full-length recording, My Craziest Dream (2004) is an album of jazz standards featuring her father on piano. It earned her an entry in the 2009 Hal Leonard book "The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide." Abbie studied classical flute growing up, but once she started playing Dobro in 2004 she found her main instrument. She traveled to Lyons, CO and Nashville, TN to study with Rob Ickes and Sally Van Meter. Always keen on following the vocal part and trying to find the one really perfect note, instead of a dozen okay ones, Abbie is quickly compiling an extensive discography of recording credits. Her own CDs include Honey on My Grave (2006) and Bad Nights/Better Days (2008, with Anthony da Costa). Abbie has been recognized as an award-winning songwriter, with such accolades as; 2006 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase (2nd place), 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for "The Mind of a Soldier" and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for "I'd Rather Be." "The Mind of a Soldier" was also featured on Lufthansa Airlines in 2010. Abbie has had the honor of being part of the songwriting faculty at the 2010 and 2011 Swannanoa Gatherings and assisting at Reso Summit, Nashville's Resonator Conference, for the past three years. She released her latest solo CD Hope in the spring of 2011. She is currently writing and posting a song per week as part of the year-long Real Women Real Songs project.

www.abbiegardner.com




Photo: Annabel Braithwaite

MOLLY

Molly Venter inherited her father's nomadic tendencies along with her mother's love of music. Summertime, aboard the small sailboat "Wanderer," her mother taught both Molly and her brother to play guitar and sing harmony. After graduating Williams College in MA, Venter moved around from Idaho to Mexico before landing in Austin, TX. She released 4 solo albums and spent years crisscrossing the country as a solo artist before joining Red Molly. Venter's calling card is her powerful, nuanced voice, swinging from a silky whisper to a bluesy shout in a single breath. American Songwriter magazine writes "Few singers turn first time listeners into eternal fanatics as effortlessly as Molly Venter." In 2008 she released "Love Me Like You Mean It" - which was picked up by Barnes & Noble distribution and also got the attention of Warner Brothers executives who placed her music in the movie "Impact". Her knack for shedding lyrical light on emotional darkness has earned her placements at Rocky Mountain Folks Fest & Kerrville Folks Fest songwriting competitions. Her songs have also been used in indie films as well as marketing campaigns by Jeep and Apple. Solitary touring life had begun to wear on Venter when, fortuitously, Abbie and Laurie of Red Molly reached out and invited her to audition for the group. In joining Red Molly, Molly gained two terrific musical collaborators as well as the liveliest touring sisterhood a girl could ask for! Venter's latest project, Goodnight Moonshine - a duo album with singer-basist-guitarist Eben Pariser of Brooklyn quartet Roosevelt Dime - recently landed at #12 on the Folk Charts and was the Recommended Hot Pick for Euro-Americana charts. Having spent the last two years in Brooklyn in order to be closer to Red Molly bandmates, Venter now resides in her home town New Haven, CT.


 

 

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