By DAVID WANNOP
For 21st Century Media
rene Molloy is one of the most gracious performers you could ever hope to meet. A devotee of Pati Griffin, she has appeared in a play inspired by her idol’s music. Molloy has appeared on stage doing classic Irish tunes and is recognized by the New York theatre community. Yet, the Doylestown-raised Molloy fancies herself as a singer songwriter, and has a new full length CD and download to prove it, using Cambridge Sound Studio in Newtown, Bucks County as her creative base. Though living in Brooklyn, she still feels very much at home in the Delaware Valley music scene and you will be able to see and hear just how apparent that is if you attend her next appearance at the Tin Angel May 9 in Philadelphia.
Molloy illustrated the process of the recording. “I’ve been playing around Philly for many, many years with Phil Dagostino on bass and we decided that that it was time to do a full album. It was about three years working on it. We blended some old songs and some new songs and it was satisfying because we took our time. We recorded more than what ended up on the album. We wanted a complete picture and I got to work with people that I’ve known for a long time. We used Cambridge Studio with Jim Solomon in Newtown. We went back and reviewed songs that people liked over the years. I also wrote during the process. We wanted to bring the songs to life production wise. I got to pick and choose in the end,” she said.
It took more time this time around but Molloy explains, “Phil and the guys were busy and I was busy with other parts of life. I was in a play for a while too. It changes things when you have space and time.” Such time budgeting is not perceived as a problem for Molloy as she relates, “I let songs grow and take my time and feed them and check on them. I don’t force it. Some songs speak to you and hook you so you want to revisit them. Some songs I can’t get out of my head. I’ve been teaching my daughter and she likes to sing into her I’phone get down ideas as I do. I tell her that many song ideas are not really good in the beginning but you can be patient and wait and see.”
It took a while for Molloy to gravitate toward instruments and away from scripted material. She said, “The instruments came when I was 20 or so, when I wanted to create. I came out of a situation in which I was doing what I was told and I decided to sue my own voice. It’s a different kind of satisfaction to be able to write and create things.”
Timing, mood and feel seem to be drivers behind the music this time. Molloy continues, “I prefer it to be pure and we did a lot of straight through vocal takes for this recording. We had the choice of going back and making everything meticulous and perfect but we found when the vibe is there, the vibe is there.”
Her many years upon the stage have made Molloy different than many indie/performers. “I prefer to be a little distracted before a show because you can think about things too much. I think it is important to just give of yourself to the people,” she said.
Discussing the musical theme of the recent recording and upcoming shows she notes, “There is a lot of country and alt/country vibe, inspired by Patti Griffin more earthy bluesy style. I’ve always had that kind of fear that maybe it won’t make sense, but I didn’t want to choose a theme. I wanted to let things happen. The audience finds threads that you didn’t even know were there. They hear meaning. There are themes of home, leaving home, what is home. Being an adult and making choices.” Speaking of leaving home, her tour will take her from Boston to Los Angeles and many places along the way.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Irene Molloy with Dawn Hiatt
WHERE: Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St., Philadelphia.
WHEN: May 9.
INFO: Call (215) 928-0978 or check www.tinangel.com.
By DAVID WANNOP