August 01, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Americana/roots trio Red Molly will kick-off the Weis Center's new 2013-14 series on Friday, Aug. 30, at 5:45 p.m. outside on the Weis Center Plaza. [rain location: Weis Center lobby] The performance is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. [note new start time]

The event is sponsored, in part, by PPL Corporation and its affiliates.

The Boston Globe says, "Red Molly may be from New York, but their bluegrass and old-time gospel sounds and buoyant three-part harmonies are so down-home it's as if their notes are carried to you on the crisp air of the Ozarks."

Since 2004, Red Molly — Laurie MacAllister (bass, banjo), Abbie Gardner (dobro, banjo) and Molly Venter (guitar) — has been bringing audiences to their feet with gorgeous three-part harmonies, crisp musicianship and their warm, engaging stage presence. The band's fans, referred to as "RedHeads", have always responded to the sense that the band is a group of friends, sharing songs in their living room.

This past year, the ladies were invited to open multiple shows for music legend Willie Nelson and they performed at the RockyGrass festival in Colorado.

Between knocking out audiences from coast to coast, the trio found time to record three albums: "Never Been to Vegas" in 2006; 2008's "Love and Other Tragedies:, which spent 10 weeks in the Top 15 on the Americana chart, and 2010's "James" which logged four months in the Top 40 on the Americana chart, peaking at #4, and landing at #23 in the year's Top 100.

When founding member Carolann Solebello stepped down, MacAllister and Gardner asked Austin-based singer songwriter and guitarist Molly Venter to join the band. "Light in the Sky" is Red Molly's first release with Venter. The album spent 20 weeks on the Americana Music Association's Top 40 radio chart and charted as Folk DJ's #3 Top Album of 2012.

The band's instrumental prowess, sparkling harmonies and strong lead vocals of the individual members are evident throughout the album. The band also showcases their songwriting expertise with three solid original tunes and an inventive re-imagining of Robert Johnson's "Come On in My Kitchen." Gardner's co-write with Jonathan Byrd, "Oh My Michael", sounds like a traditional Irish ballad. Her dobro adds to the song's haunted sound, while her poignant lead vocal is remarkable for its subdued emotion.

Gardner and her father wrote "Hello Goodbye", a fun, funky tune with a hint of ragtime. The group's harmonies suggest the 40's swing of The Andrews Sisters. Venter's "Hold It All" is a grown-up lullaby, both graceful and insightful.

This tour engagement is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

For more information about this performance contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by email at

The next performance in the Weis Center's 2013-14 series is Pedrito Martinez Group performing Afro-Cuban rhythms on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre in downtown Lewisburg. The performance is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to or