Mollie O'Brien & Rich Moore plan new album, U.S. tour
In Love Runner, their second studio recording as a duo, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore have mined the American songbook while adding three original tracks of their own. The result is a mix of contemporary folk, powerhouse gospel, funky dance music and everything in between — an amalgam of all the kinds of music that have defined the sounds coming from the American trajectory of music that’s blossomed over the last 100 years. Americana in the truest sense.
Love Runner features three songs written by O’Brien and Moore: the rockin’ title track, which is an unabashed invitation for some love in the car, the autobiographical swing-like “Went Back Home,” and a powerhouse turn at the traditional gospel song “Don’t Let The Devil Ride.”
The duo has once again unearthed some hidden gems: Tom Paxton’s newly written “Central Square” is a remembrance of first love; Robin and Linda Williams and Jerome Clark’s “Green Summertime” is a gorgeous paean to a small-town world called home; Hal Cannon’s “Just Go” places the listener squarely in the front seat next to a woman leaving a ruinous relationship in the dust. O’Brien and Moore also put their stamp on the inimitable Dave Van Ronk’s “Sunday Street” and on Randy Newman’s eerie “Suzanne” — both songs normally sung from a male point of view, but when given Mollie’s gimlet-eyed take, become even more unique for their devil-may-care breeziness and swagger.
Produced by Lyons, Colorado-based arranger and bassist Eric Thorin, the basic tracks feature keyboardists Eric Moon and John Magnie, drummer Marc Dalio and steel guitarist Glenn Taylor. In short order over their three days in the studio, they recorded all 11 songs, then completed the arrangements with sawist Lesley Kernochan, fiddler Jessie Burns, trumpeter Gabe Mervine and O’Brien and Moore’s daughters, Brigid and Lucy, on harmony vocals.
Nashville songwriter Gretchen Peters says of the album: “It takes serious talent to play and sing this effortlessly; these two are the perfect vehicle for this eclectic set of songs.”
Most of the songs have to do with the universal theme of home: leaving it and family behind, missing it, never wanting to go back, finding it in surprising places all over the world, and finally wondering what kind of home awaits us in the life after this one. O’Brien and Moore let us know via their choice of material that they are not afraid to take risks. It’s almost as if they’re telling us that at this stage in their lives, they are at home with their musical selves — they can do whatever they want and they don’t care if the rest of the world agrees with them. It takes guts to make choices like this work, and they’ve succeeded.
About Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore
Grammy Award winner Mollie O’Brien became known to the rest of the world as a singer’s singer when, in 1988, she and her brother Tim released the first of three critically acclaimed albums for Sugar Hill Records (Take Me Back, Remember Me and Away Out on the Mountain). Eventually, Mollie recorded five equally well-received solo albums (Tell It True, Big Red Sun and Things I Gave Away for Sugar Hill Records, and I Never Move Too Soon and Everynight in the Week for Resounding Records). Additionally, she was a regular on the nationally syndicated radio show A Prairie Home Companion from 2001 through 2005. She’s long been known as a singer who doesn’t recognize musical boundaries, and audiences love her fluid ability to make herself at home in any genre while never sacrificing the essence of the song she tackles. O’Brien has primarily focused her efforts on the fading art of interpretation and the end result is a singer at the very top of her game who is not afraid to take risks both vocally and in the material she chooses.
Husband Rich Moore has busied himself in the Colorado music scene for many years. While staying home with the kids when Mollie and Tim toured, he held a day job and continued to perform locally with a variety of Colorado favorites, including Pete Wernick and Celeste Krenz. Not only is Moore known to produce some of the funniest onstage running commentary, he’s also a powerhouse guitar player who can keep up with O’Brien’s twists and turns from blues to traditional folk to jazz to rock and roll. He creates a band with just his guitar and, as a result, theirs is an equal partnership.
1. Sunday Street (Dave Van Ronk)
2. Train Home (Chris Smither)
3. Went Back Home (Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore)
4. Central Square (Tom Paxton)
5. Love Runner (Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore)
6. Suzanne (Randy Newman)
7. Don’t Let The Devil Ride (trad. arr. by Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore)
8. They Want Me Here (Robbie Fulks)
9. Just Go (Hal Cannon)
10. West Virginia, My Home (Hazel Dickens)
11. Green Summertime (Robin and Linda Williams and Jerome Clark)
Sun., Dec. 1 CHARLESTON, WV Mountain Stage 30th Anniversary Show (with Eric Thorin)
Wed., Dec. 11 FISH CREEK, WI The White Gull Inn (Mollie and Rich)
Fri., Dec 13 FRANKFORT, IL Down Home Guitars (Mollie and Rich)
Thurs., Jan. 23 RIDGWAY, CO Sherbino Theater (Mollie and Rich with band)
Sat., Jan. 25 DENVER, CO Swallow Hill (CD release party; (Mollie and Rich with band)
Sun., Jan. 26 FORT COLLINS, CO Avogadro’s Number (Mollie and Rich with band)
Thurs., Feb. 6 WORTHINGTON, OH Natalie’s (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Fri., Feb. 7 MARIETTA, OH Adelphia Music Hall (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Thurs., Feb. 13 PITTSBURGH, PA The Roots Cellar (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Fri., Feb. 14 COLUMBIA, MD Historic Cooper’s House (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Sat., Feb. 15 CHAPEL HILL, NC Five Oaks Clubhouse (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Sun., Feb. 16 ABERDEEN, NC Poplar Knight Spot (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Wed., Feb. 19 WINSTON SALEM, NC Roots Revival Stage (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Fri., Feb. 21 MORRO BAY, CA Coalesce Book Store (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Sat., Feb. 22 TEMPLETON, CA Castoro Cellars (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Sun., Feb. 23 OAKLAND, CA The Boathouse (Mollie and Rich with Eric Thorin)
Thurs.-Sun., Feb. 27-March 2 BELLEVUE, WA Hyatt Regency, Wintergrass 2014 (Mollie and
Rich with Eric Thorin)