By Tara Bennett
Anyone who wants to see the famed female Americana trio Red Molly in person better do it soon. After 11 years and six albums, the band has decided to go on an indefinite “hiatus.”
Residents of Baton Rouge are lucky, though, because they will have the opportunity to see and hear Laurie MacAllister (bass), Abbie Gardner (Dobro), and Molly Venter (guitar) on Friday, July 10, at 7:30 p.m. when they will perform in Baton Rouge for the very first time at the Manship Theatre.
Based out of the Northeast region, the vocal harmony trio is known to play acoustic Americana music, with a mixture of original and cover songs that reach a broad spectrum of topics.
“We try to touch on the human experience,” said Gardner. “There’s songs about work, there’s songs about coal miners, or just love, love lost, all sorts of different things.”
The band formed in 2004 at a late night song circle at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. Much of their sound has been influenced by bands with great harmony. In 2006, they received top votes in the Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase and their Never Been to Vegas was one of the year’s top charting Americana albums. Since then, their popularity has grown steadily as they’ve opened for acts like Willie Nelson and Vince Gill.
The band name’s was inspired by the character of Molly in Richard Thompson’s 1952 song “Vincent Black Lighting,” which is also one of the band’s most popular covers.
“It’s a song about their love story… it’s a great story and was a song I listened to growing up,” said Gardner. “When we were looking for a band name, it just really seemed to fit our personalities. Molly was kind of the girl next door with a bit more fire.”
At this time there are no specific plans for the band to reunite, but the door is not necessarily closed for the future.
“We’re going out on a high note and everyone’s getting along and everyone’s so happy, it definitely makes the door open for future collaboration,” said Gardner.
In the meantime, Red Molly fans can enjoy the few remaining live concerts featuring the songs from their 2014 release The Red Album and 2011’s Light in the Sky. The Red Album, featuring eight original songs, was featured in USA Today and CMT Edge, and spent 16 weeks on the Americana Radio Top 40 chart, reaching No. 10. It was No. 1 on the Folk DJ Radio Chart for all of 2014.
While fans will be able to listen to their records as often as they like, Gardner says there is nothing like listening to live harmony.
“There’s something about harmony when you hear and when you do it live instead of on recording that you can just feel it somewhere in your bones,” said Gardner. It’s such an amazing feeling for us onstage and then being able to share that with everybody in the audience. It just becomes a really magical thing and kind of connects everybody just briefly.”
Gardner promises the show will not be boring, playing lots of favorites, trading vocals and as an added treat, everyone will be able to go home with a CD as the band will nix their set price and leave it open to pay what you can.
“Anyone who comes to the show can pay whatever they want for a CD,” said Gardner.
Tickets for Red Molly are $20 and can be purchased at manshiptheatre.org.