Smile Politely

Straight outta Brooklyn

What’s more Brooklyn than Americana music? If the writer of this piece were Malcolm Gladwell, this is where it’d launch into a meticulously-researched intro about how all your assumptions about Brooklyn are wrong (as well as those about No Depression, hipsters, and women, both in music and in general) before singing the praises of Red Molly, a roots music trio who are based out of the hippest borough known to mankind. Alas, you’ll have to suffice with the last one for this preview. Red Molly are three songwriters (Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Carolann Solebello) who join forces to play rootsy music with lovely harmonies. They’ve begun to attract a following outside their native Northeast.

Photo by David Plakke.

Red Molly will be playing the U-C Independent Media Center this Wednesday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. It’s sponsored by CU Folk and Roots, WWHP, and Heartland Gallery. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Heartland Gallery, the IMC, and by calling 493-4654.

Abbie Gardner answered some of my questions through the wonder of electronic mail. The band’s FAQ section on their website was so good that I could only come up with four questions.

Smile Politely: Do you feel like you’re part of the Brooklyn “music scene” even though you don’t all live there? Are there a lot of Americana groups based in Brooklyn, or is it mostly indie rock?

Abbie Gardner: We don’t spend nearly enough time locally to feel like we’re part of the local music scene, but there is a rising Americana and Acoustic/Bluegrass music scene in Brooklyn and in NYC in general. There are bluegrass jams nearly every night in this area, believe it or not!

Smile Politely: Your bio mentions that you’ve just begun to tour nationally. What’s been your experience of touring the Midwest before? Are we as nice as has been claimed?

Abbie Gardner: We’ve only briefly been to the Midwest, but yes, the people were as warm as the weather was cold.

Smile Politely: What’s the most challenging thing about being a touring musician in 2010?

Abbie Gardner: I think recently the most challenging aspect has been getting acoustic instruments safely on a plane. But honestly, we can’t complain. Being a musician is a dream come true and people seem to need music more than ever. We are grateful every single day for what we are able to do.

Smile Politely:  What are some advantages and challenges of having multiple accomplished songwriters in the group?

Abbie Gardner: It’s great to have songwriters in the group because even when we are picking out cover songs, we can hone in on the heart of the song and sometimes use our writing skill in the arrangement phase, so that heart is more easily seen. Being a writer also makes you more aware of great songwriting, when it comes across your ear.

Here’s Red Molly performing the traditional favorite, “Wayfaring Stranger”:

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