Go and do

WHO: the female trio Red Molly

WHAT: L/A Arts concert

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 17

WHERE: Ramada Inn and Conference Center, Pleasant Street, Lewiston TICKETS: $24 and $19. Call 782-7228 or visit www.laarts.org

Red Molly Female trio breathes new life into classic, contemporary Americana

LEWISTON – The record business calls it “Americana” music these days, but it used to be what kids and old folks called “old timey” country music. It’s that simple harmony of voices, blend of acoustic instruments and universal themes of life that someone like Ralph Stanley knows from growing up in the Appalachians.

Younger and more modern artists have latched on to the traditions of American blues, country, bluegrass and jazz regardless of differences in cultural backgrounds. Red Molly, a female trio from the New York City area, is an unlikely but amazing example of how truly authentic music can hold such broad appeal.

“It’s a kind of music that sounds very organic to us,” said Abbie Gardner, who plays the dobro and grew up going to bluegrass festivals in New York with her parents.

Red Molly will perform Friday, April 17, at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center as part of L/A Arts’ concert series.

Gardner met her cohorts, Carolann Solebello and Laurie MacAllister, about four years ago at a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival campsite. The three of them, the last ones awake, spent hours harmonizing to traditional songs and talking about their love for the music, said Gardner.

Currently living in Hoboken, Jersey City and Brooklyn, the city girls have an honest feel for the musical roots that dig deep in love and sorrow.

All three contribute in turns to the songwriting, harmonies, lead vocals and instrumentals. Their second CD, “Love and Other Tragedies,” harkens to the early 1930s when American music was an expression instead of a product.

Aside from the bluegrass sound of Gardner’s “Honey on My Grave” or the rendition of the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger,” Red Molly throws in a little swing with “Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia.” The sound is immediately reminiscent of Django Reinhardt and the animated Triplets of Belleville. Some of their songs take on a gospel flavor, but all of them are sung with a sincere passion.

They’ve all quit their day jobs and spend most of their time writing, recording and performing. Their third full-length CD is slated for the recording studio later this year, said Gardner.

Sometimes the trio’s harmony comes naturally, she said, but other pieces take a deliberate effort. As for the song choices, some are written by Americana stars such as Gillian Welch and some are traditional anonymous songs that have been passed down through generations.

But all three seem to be prolific in writing their own songs, keeping true to the simplicity of themes, plaintive moans and down-home foot-tapping.

MacAllister’s “Beaumont Rest Stop” with the earthy vocals, rhythmic guitar and heart-tugging dobro twang can make anyone from anywhere of any age homesick.

And Red Molly’s music takes you to wherever your home is.

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