Thursday, January 19, 2012
In 2004 and 2005, Molly’s Revenge performed at the Shanghai International Music Festival in China. The acoustic Celtic trio’s performances were a smash.
“The people of Shanghai received us with open arms and wild applause,” says guitarist Stuart Mason. “Something about the huge sound of the Highland pipes seemed to connect with them, especially when David [Brewer] would jump off the stage and play to the little kids in the front row.”
Then again, it shouldn’t be that surprising. Molly’s Revenge – Mason, David Brewer (Highland bagpipes, border pipes, uillean pipes, whistles, bodhran), and John Weed (fiddle) – receive warm receptions wherever they unleash their Celtic magic. And after 10 years, and 10 albums, the trio is getting even better – like a fine single malt whiskey – as they delve deeper into the roots of Celtic music.
“The arrangements are much more complex now, the material we choose is more obscure, and our level of playing on our instruments is much higher than when we started,” Mason says. “We always go for a variety of tempos, keys, and time signatures, but the mix is always heavy on the reels and jigs, which is the kind of tunes you find in Irish jam sessions.”
For the outfits’ last two albums – The Western Shore and Aged 10 Years – they pulled in renowned folk musicians John Doyle (from Ireland) and Aaron Jones (from Scotland) as producers and the final results back up Mason’s claim.
On “The Boys of Barr na Sráide,” the final track on Aged 10 Years, Molly’s Revenge puts its own whimsical spin on the well-known Irish tune while keeping the essence of its deep, cultural roots. The song – based on a poem by Irish poet Sigerson Clifford – is fueled by meticulous three-part harmonies and the lasting tones of Weed’s nostalgic fiddle.
For their Friday performance at the Carl Cherry Center, Glasgow singer-songwriter Peter Daldry will join Molly’s Revenge to celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns with a collection of songs and poems penned by the Scottish writer.
ROBERT BURNS NIGHT with MOLLY’S REVENGE begins at 7:30pm Friday, Jan. 20, at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Fourth and Guadalupe, Carmel. $15. 624-7491.