Red Molly to hit stage at Caffe Lena

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Bob Goepfert

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> Red Molly is a trio of fe­male singers who ex­ist some­where be­tween be­ing pop­u­lar and as a cult-fa­vorite.

The group which is play­ing at Caffe Lena on Fri­day, even has a group of de­voted fans who are called the Red Heads. For proof of their pop­u­lar­ity, the trio’s 8 p.m. per­for­mance in Saratoga Springs has al­ready sold out and a 5:30 p.m. show has been added.

Even Red Molly’s for­ma­tion has a touch of leg­end about it. Af­ter per­form­ing as in­di­vid­u­als at the 2004 Fal­con Ridge Folk Fes­ti­val many of the per­form­ers at the fes­ti­val hung around singing at a com­mu­nal camp fire. The last three singing were Lau­rie MacAl­lis­ter, Ab­bie Gard­ner and Carolann Sole­bello. They so much en­joyed the sound of their three-part har­monies that they de­cided to form a group.

And, Red Molly was born. (Sole­bello left the group in 2010, to pur­sue a solo ca­reer. She was re­placed by Molly Ven­ter.)

In a re­cent tele­phone in­ter­view one of the founders, Ab­bie Gard­ner says that orig­i­nal meet­ing some­how set the tone of Red Molly. She said per­form­ing is what gives the three per­form­ers their joy and fu­els their in­spi­ra­tion, but they con­sciously take time off from tour­ing to fo­cus on their in­di­vid­ual muses.

They were off the road for two years 2015-17 and Fri­day’s Caffe Lena’s shows are their first gig in al­most 6 months. They per­form again on Sunday at the Broad­way Ball­room in New York City, but don’t have an­other date un­til their next ma­jor tour starts in April.

Gard­ner says this break is a bonus for the Caffe Lena au­di­ence. “We are all anx­ious to per­form to­gether. Since we only have these two dates it will be like a mo­ment in time for us. We will be fresh, anx­ious to per­form and in a sit­u­a­tion where we don’t have to pace our­selves. We can en­joy each song and give it our full en­ergy.

“It should be a spe­cial show.”

What can one ex­pect at a Red Molly show? Gard­ner had trou­ble slot­ting the group within a spe­cific genre. She set­tled for the um­brella de­scrip­tion of “Amer­i­cana,” which cov­ers folk, blue­grass, coun­try and blues. “Any­thing that uses a strong three-part har­mony is what we do best,” she says. Con­tin­u­ing, she adds, “Ba­si­cally, we like our songs to tell a story and to gen­er­ate emo­tion. We like feel­good mu­sic and, to tell the truth, we pre­fer joy­ful.”

Gard­ner says that through­out their ca­reer they have been evolv­ing. “It’s the only way to last,” she says. One ob­vi­ous change to their per­for­mance is they are now backed by a two­piece rhythm sec­tion. Craig Akin is on the up­right bass and Eben Pariser plays per­cus­sion and elec­tric gui­tar. “We used the back-up for a record­ing we did, and it worked well.

“We re­ally miss their en­ergy if we go on stage without them.”

The more im­por­tant, philo­soph­i­cal change in Red Molly is more sub­tle. “We were all about per­form­ing. The ma­te­rial was im­por­tant, but it was the sheer joy of be­ing to­gether on stage that drove us,” she ex­plained. “Now the songs are driv­ing us more and more.”

To that end, the break through April will fo­cus on song­writ­ing. Like any group ded­i­cated to folk and roots mu­sic, Red Molly is aware of their so­cial sur­round­ings.

Gard­ner ob­serves, “We are bom­barded by di­vi­sive­ness. No one re­spects other views. We can­not be con­nected if we don’t lis­ten to each other.” Her so­lu­tion is, “Peo­ple have to get out of their houses and spend time in a com­mu­nal at­mos­phere with their neigh­bors. Lis­ten­ing to mu­sic is a good start. Mu­sic con­nects peo­ple.”

That she says has al­ways been the goal for a Red Molly con­cert. “We sing joy­ful songs that bond in­di­vid­u­als. We don’t do neg­a­tiv­ity. Our new ma­te­rial will be hope­ful, and per­haps let peo­ple re­al­ize it is OK not to agree on ev­ery­thing.

“We want to fo­cus on things about which we can agree.”

Red Molly is at Caffe Lena, Jan. 10. 5:30 and 8 p.m. (the late show is sold out). For tick­ets and in­for­ma­tion call (518) 583-0022.

ANNABEL BRAITH­WAITE PHOTO

Red Molly is a trio of fe­male singers who ex­ist some­where be­tween be­ing pop­u­lar and as a cult-fa­vorite

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