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Red Molly-Dynamic folk/bluegrass female trio
Arcata Playhouse
Arcata, CA
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Red Molly-Dynamic folk/bluegrass female trio
Red Molly is a dynamic folk/ bluegrass female trio that began as a happy accident around a campsite (at the 2004 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival) and is now drawing invitations from renowned historic national events like Merlefest. and is winning over audiences around the country.

"Red Molly may be from New York, but their bluegrass and old-time gospel sounds and buoyant three-part harmonies are so down-home it's as if their notes are carried to you on the crisp air of the Ozarks."
-The Boston Globe

On a July evening in 2004, at their campsite at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Carolann Solebello harmonized for the very first time. As they sang their campmates off to sleep, they knew they had stumbled into something extraordinary. Audiences seem to agree. Since that summer night, Red Molly has consistently brought concert-goers to their feet with stunning three-part harmonies, crisp musicianship and a warm, engaging stage presence.

In July 2006, Red Molly released their first full length CD Never Been to Vegas, but it was their first studio release, Love and Other Tragedies (2008), that established Red Molly as one of the fastest-rising folk/bluegrass bands in the acoustic music scene. The album featured a fuller sound than their previous release. In addition, the ladies incorporated more originals into the mix. Laurie's "Beaumont Rest Stop" and Abbie's "Honey on My Grave" were both featured in Sing Out! Magazine. Carolann's "Summertime" was the #1 song on the Folk DJ chart in July 2008, and Abbie's "The Mind of a Soldier" won the 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Folk). Love and Other Tragedies spent ten weeks in the Top 15 on the Americana Top 40 and entered the Folk DJ Top Albums chart at #1 (July 2008).

With James (2010), their second studio release, Red Molly beautifully captures what their fans love about the band: dark and heart-wrenching one moment, soulful and uplifting the next. They deliver an eclectic, exciting mix of cover songs by well-known writers (Nanci Griffith, Steve Goodman, Bob Wills, Darrell Scott, etc.), originals, and songs by up-and-coming writers (Jonathan Byrd, Anthony da Costa). The Mollies opted to self-produce this album, with talented engineer Mark Dann at the reins. Tracks like the album opener "The Last Call" showcase the trio's soaring harmonies while "Jezebel" and "Can't Let Go" remind us that these ladies can rock. James peaked at #4 on the Americana Top 40 and was Folk DJ's#1 Album for two months in a row. Maverick (UK) gave the new release 4 out of 5 stars, praising the band's " ... glorious vocal harmonies."

With the critical success of James, the band is now drawing invitations from renowned historic national events like Merlefest and is winning over audiences in 250-500 seat theaters around the country. Spurred onward by an ever-growing and devoted fanbase, and the desire to commit themselves to touring farther from home, Red Molly is at the start of a new and exciting musical chapter.

As Carolann steps down to spend more time with family and pursue solo opportunities, joining Laurie (bass, banjo) and Abbie (Dobro, guitar) is the newest "Molly", Austin-based singer/songwriter Molly Venter (guitar). Molly first caught Abbie's attention as a New Folk Finalist at the 2008 Kerrville Folk Festival. When Molly opened for Red Molly in Arlington, VA later that month, the band was stunned by the beauty and power of her voice, which has drawn comparisons to Natalie Merchant and Patty Griffin. In the multiple opening slots that followed, Molly effortlessly turned listeners into fans, with her gorgeous singing, warm authenticity, and undeniable charm.

Over the last month of rehearsals and impromptu live performances in Hamilton Park, near their rehearsal space in Jersey City, the three women quickly nailed the essence of the Red Molly sound, while hinting at inspiring new musical possibilities in the months of touring that lie ahead. "This is an exciting time for the band; we're so thrilled that Molly has joined us", says MacAlllister. Gardner adds, "We couldn't have even hoped for a more perfect fit."

Photo: Jeff Fasano

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: Brenda Wirth

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 that comes from 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; 2008 Lennon Award Winner (folk) for The Mind of a Soldier and 2008 American Songwriter Magazine Grand Prize Lyric Winner for  Rather Be. "The Mind of a Soldier" was also featured on Lufthansa Airlines in early 2010. Abbie was honored to be part of the songwriting faculty at the 2010 Swannanoa Gathering and assisting at Reso Summit for the past three years. She is busy writing songs for an upcoming solo CD (2011) and also makes time for her side projectThe Slide Sessions, a video podcast where she and a guest Dobro or slide player trade songs and licks and generally try to make each other laugh.

Photo: Meg Venter

Summer evenings in Long Island Sound, aboard the tiny sailboat Wanderer, Molly Venter's mother taught Molly and her brother Josiah to play guitar and sing harmony. Venter inherited her father's nomadic tendencies along with her mother's love of music and culture. After earning an undergraduate degree in International Relations, Molly lived in Idaho, California and Mexico before settling in Austin, TX. She has enjoyed studying dance and movement, psychology, nutrition, comedy improv, and traditional Sufi singing and the harmonium. It is her great joy to weave her life experiences into song. Venter has released four albums and toured extensively since 2004. She was a finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk contest (2008) and took second place at Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriter Showcase (2008). Her debut album "Molly Venter" caught the attention of editors at Warner Bros. music and was featured in the ski film "Impact" as well as on all promotional Jeep CDs for 2005 and 2006. After releasing her latest album "Love Me Like You Mean It", Venter left her teaching job and took to the road full time, crisscrossing the country for the next 18 months and living out of her car. The album was featured on Barnes & Noble listening stations around the country, and her songs "Happier Now" and "Shaky Ground" are currently in rotation on all in-store Apple computers. Still, solo life on the road wore Molly down, and she was in the process of applying to teaching jobs in Austin in April 2010 when the Red Molly call came in. Having opened a dozen shows for Red Molly, Venter was thrilled! The newest "Molly" is currently getting serious about playing guitar, collaborating with her new bandmates, and generally enjoying life's adventures.




Arcata Playhouse
1251-9th St.
Arcata, CA 95521
United States

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Music > Bluegrass

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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