PFS opens our 2018-2019 Concert Season with folksinging favorites Mollie O'Brien and her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, who have for nearly 30 years quietly made it their mission to find, mine and reinvent other artists' songs. They are geniuses at the craft of interpretation in the way that great singers, since the beginning of popular American music, have made the songs of their era their own. As songwriters they add their own tunes to the canon of American roots music they inhabit and show us they're completely at home with their music.
Sometimes the story is just about the ordinary. No-big-bang, no-big-gig, no-big-promoter or writer hearing the band and telling the rest of the world. Sometimes the story is just about doing what you do and keeping at it. In the case of Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore it means 30 years of marriage, two kids, numerous day jobs, and making music together and apart. They met in 1981 at the Denver Folklore Center on April Fool's Day and married a few years later. At the time, they were involved in their own bands and working solidly all over Colorado - Mollie was singing with Prosperity Jazz Band, a vintage swing band which featured local luminary Washboard Chaz among others; Rich was playing bass with the rock-steady blues band, The Late Show. Within a year Mollie joined The Late Show, and they attracted notice outside the bar band scene and began playing Colorado blues festivals and concerts.
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 O'Brien 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 a lot of 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 & 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.
O'Brien and Moore's first duet CD, a live recording titled 900 Baseline (Remington Road Records) was released in 2006. Their first studio project, Saints & Sinners (Remington Road Records), was released to nationwide acclaim in 2010. In January 2014 they released their followup, Love Runner (Remington Road Records). Both studio projects were produced by Lyons, CO ace arranger and bassist, Eric Thorin. All three CDs showcase their talent for unlocking the secrets to a diverse array of songs in authoritative yet very fun and unusual arrangements.
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.
PFS is privileged to welcome Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore to our concert stage.
Saints and Sinners
Backstage at Mountain Stage
As Walt Kelly used to say, "To be drug out."