When Carolann Solebello — one of the original members of the Americana trio Red Molly — stepped down in 2010, it was decision time for the other two women. Should they recruit a new member? Continue on as a duo? Call it quits? After some deliberation they decided to bring in a new “Molly,” and as fate would have it, her name is actually Molly. And with the band’s 2011 release, Light in the Sky, Molly Venter’s presence helped refine the band’s unique sound so that the tinges of Americana, folk, bluegrass and country — done by way of a cappella and three-part harmonies — in their repertoire were given a bit more edge. The results are surely something the band is pleased about.
Their rendition of Robert Johnson’s “Come on in My Kitchen” is filled with the sort of soul and harmonies that a lot of trios just aren’t capable of, and the honky tonk send-up they give to Buddy and Julie Miller’s “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger” is absolute gold. The simple, laidback country folk sounds of their original song “Hold it All” are mesmerizing, especially when the trio — which is completed by original members Abbie Gardner (dobro, guitar) and Laurie MacAllister (banjo, bass) — let their heavenly vocals soar into the night sky. And by the time Venter takes the Otis Blackwell/Eddie Cooley classic “Fever” at the end of the record and gives it a sultry, jazzy vibe; there is no denying the talent and allure of this band.
Whether rhapsodizing about relationships in various states of bliss or disarray, and whether going the a cappella route (“Dear Someone”) or making an already tongue-in-cheek track even more fun (“Why Should I Cry”), this trio is turning heads.
Red Molly plays with Tara Stonecipher and The Tall Grass 8 pm Sunday, Jan. 13, at Cozmic; $12 adv, $15 door. — Brian Palmer