Originally Published: February 22, 2014 6:01 a.m.
The singers of the Red Molly ensemble will "light up the stage" March 1 when they bring their music to the Prescott Center for the Arts main stage.
"Light" is an apropos description, because Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Molly Venter named their recent album "Light in the Sky." It spent 20 weeks on the American Music Association's Top 40 radio chart and also ranked as Folk DJ's number 3 top album of 2012. And, when they appeared at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in Virginia in 2012, the Bristol Herald Courier said "the band lit up the stage, as a massive crowd of adoring fans sat mesmerized by their silky smooth harmonies and superb musicianship."
Tom Agostino of Folk Sessions, which is presenting the concert along with Prescott Center for the Arts, calls Red Molly "Sweethearts of the Rodeo" because of "their Texas swing that meets the gospel bluegrass sound, the fact that they just toured with Willie Nelson, and because of their great songs, their great three-part harmonies" and that touch of "just a little bit of naughty."
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available online at www.pca-az.net or by calling the PCA box office at 445-3286.
Red Molly tours mostly in the northeast, with their collective voices and MacAllister with her bass, Venter with her guitar and Gardner with her dobro. As is often the case with musicians, they all grew up surrounded by music.
Venter's mother sang and played guitar and taught her daughter how to harmonize. And, she listened to her father's music collection, as well, hearing the likes of the Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel.
When Venter was in high school, she started writing songs and during her first year out of college, she cut her first album and toured as a solo artist before joining Red Molly four years ago.
Gardner became enamored with bluegrass melodies when she attended festivals as a young girl, and beyond that, her father, a professional musician, influenced her passion for music. He is a swing jazz and stride pianist and a Dixieland trombonist and "watching him laugh as he went off to 'work' everyday was her first introduction to the joy of being a musician," she says.
MacAllister grew up singing to her father's records, the sounds of Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon and Garfunkel and Dolly Parton and the Mamas and the Papas and has followed her dream to be a singer.
Although Red Molly formed 10 years ago, the three were able to eventually quit their day jobs and become full-time professionals.
Venter describes their repertoire as Americana, blue grass, country, blues, jazz and folk music.
For their Prescott gig, they plan to entertain with songs from their "Light in the Sky" CD and from an album that is due for release this year.
"Light in the Sky" features some of their original work and some from other artists.
Their new CD will feature original material they have written, along with interpretations of other artists' work.
Inspiration for Red Molly's music comes from "rich stories," their own or others, Venter said.
"We like a lot of diversity in musical styles, tempos and volumes," Venter said.
The show promises "a lot of fun, variety and witty stage banter."