Press for Saints & Sinners
Saints & Sinners
2010 - Remington Road Records
“Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore have produced a splendid CD. It has rich music, lyrics and gorgeous singing. Mollie O'Brien has one of the best voices in the business and she really lets it loose here with a clarity and power that’s tough to beat. Rich is a magical guitarist - listen and you'll agree with me.”
Press Release for 900 Baseline
2007 - Remington Road Records
Partners in marriage for over twenty four years, professional musicians for longer than that, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore are just now starting on another journey - that of a performing duo. [inset side=right]The intimacy of one voice and one guitar showcases Mollie’s spot on inflections, phrasings and nuances that bring to mind the great jazz and blues singers.[/inset]The release of their new live cd, 900 Baseline, in June 2007 is proof that working couples can make beautiful music together. Blues,vintage roots covers and gorgeous ballads all get the Mollie and Rich treatment - just one voice and one guitar covering the whole range of great America music.
Mollie O’Brien is simply one of the best interpreters of American music. She has built a loyal national and international following with both her solo career and her collaborations with brother Tim O’Brien. She has performed and recorded with a virtual who’s who of modern acoustic music including Chris Thile, Jerry Douglas, Todd Phillips, Nina Gerber, Sally Van Meter, Scott Nygaard and many, many more.
Now Mollie’s unleashing her secret weapon - her husband and guitarist Rich Moore. Thro[inset side=left]Rich’s fills and interludes are so attentive that the end result is a pure distillation, a richer, deeper interpretation of the song for the song’s sake.[/inset]ughout their married lives whenever Mollie toured she’d leave Rich and the kids at home. Rich would run the house, feed the kids and work a day job. Somehow during all that time he managed to get up early in the mornings and practice guitar and bass and get ready for whatever the next local gig was - playing bass for songwriter Celeste Krenz or Pete Wernick’s Flexigrass or backing up the legendaryTom Paxton on guitar.
Well, the kids are grown and the good news is that Rich and Mollie are out on their own - just the two of them. And the new CD, 900 Baseline, is an eclectic live collection that proves the wait was worth it. The intimacy of one voice and one guitar showcases Mollie’s spot on inflections, phrasings and nuances that bring to mind the great jazz and blues singers. Rich’s fills and interludes are so attentive that the end result is a pure distillation, a richer, deeper interpretation of the song for the song’s sake. It is such a hand in glove feel that it sounds as if it’s just one being making all this music.
Excellent musicianship, great material and humor - Mollie and Rich are in synch and you know it. It’s a partnership that’s fun to watch and delicious to hear.
Selected Press for Things I Gave Away
Things I Gave Away
2000 - Sugar Hill Records
Bluegrass fans know Mollie O'Brien from her numerous collaborations with her wildly talented brother Tim, but there's a lot more to her than that. Things I Gave Away makes plain what fans who've seen Mollie in concert already know--she has a gorgeous voice that takes torchy, bluesy turns when she lets loose... this is the Mollie O'Brien we haven't heard nearly enough of in the past.
Rhythms, Nov 00, Australia
She has the chameleon-like ability to interpret blues, country, folk, jazz, pop and gospel and has the capacity to make other people's songs sound like they were written especially for her. This is the work of an artist at the peak of her powers.
Chicago Tribune, Jan 01
She makes everything flow together through the power of her richly expressive voice.
A shimmering perfomance.
The Age, Melbourne, AU, Sept 00
A sensitive production and an intimate, richly melodic recording. O'Brien and Gerber--what a class act!
The Boulder Daily Camera
It's not enough to be blessed with a powerful voice; Mollie O'Brien has the strong sense of when to be understated and when to belt one out of the park. That she rarely opts for the latter on Things I gave Away is a testament to her good taste.
Selected Press for Big Red Sun
Big Red Sun
1998 - Sugar Hill Records
Washington Post, by Geoffrey Himes, 1/14/00
Randy Newman, John Hiatt, and Steve Goodman are not the world's greatest singers, but they have written some lovely melodies. You may not appreciate just[inset side=right] ... the smooth flow of her delivery and the sheer beauty of her alto make her one of the best interpretive singers in American pop today ...[/inset] how elegant their tunes can be until you hear them sung by Mollie O'Brien on her latest album, "Big Red Sun". Tim O'Brien's big sister owns one of those remarkable voices that seem to thicken in tone the longer she holds a note. The precision of her phrasing, the smooth flow of her delivery and the sheer beauty of her alto make her one of the best interpretive singers in American pop today.
For she doesn't merely revive old songs, she recasts them completely to fit her own personality. Listen to the way she changes Willie Dixon's "My Babe" into "Little Baby", making it clear that she's at least an equal in the relationship.
Listen to the way she makes the bawdy New Orleans beat count as much as the melody on "Eleezah", a song by her keyboardist John Magnie. Listen to the way she draws out the vowels on Lucinda Williams's "Big Red Sun Blues", until the mixture of regret and affection become unmistakable. Listen to the way her soft consonants and leisurely phrasing reinforce the slacker celebration of Newman's "Rollin". Listen and appreciate.
Rolling Stone (AU), 6/99 -- 3 and 1/2 stars
O'Brien is a sassy country singer with a bluesy shadow and an eye for a strong song. In a big smooth voice and on songs by Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon, Randy Newman, and Chuck Berry, she steers clear of corn in stories about gambling men, love, loss and sexual politics in the rustic South. On "Denver to Dallas" she sings: "The ways of the women, they sure scare me some, you gotta do what you do like it's never been done before." With a raw, unsentimental approach, she makes Lucinda Williams' busted love lament, "Big Red Sun," and the rollicking traditional song, "No Hiding Place," her own. There's a heartfelt intelligence in this roots-without-whine music and it's unselfconsciously sophisticated.
Christchurch Press, Christchurch, NZ, 9/98
This is one of those special albums that appears once in a blue moon. American singer Mollie O'Brien,[inset side=left] ...one of those special albums that appears once in a blue moon...[/inset] in the tradition of such great contemporary artists such as Mary Coughlan and Madeleine Peyroux, is the find of the year. Her gorgeous, passionate voice breathes new life into songs from Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry and Randy Newman, among others. Supported by a tight band and superb arrangements, these take on whole new personalitites under her remarkable delivery.
Southern Skies, NZ, 11/98
Mollie O'Brien sings a cultured, chilling, country blues rock that has Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt nodding in appreciation. On "Big Red Sun" blues guitar, blues harp and searing vocals combine in a controlled burnoff with beads of sweat rolling as freely as the tight rhythm section.
Swallow Hill Quarterly, 10/98
Tonight, it is our distinct pleasure to present the release of Mollie O'Brien's new record, "Bid Red Sun" (Sugar Hill). It proves two things about our Mollie. First, she is one of the finest singers on the planet -- but you knew that. The other thing is that she is one of the best song-finders. Combing the archives of her widely varied musical interests, she comes up with gem after gem -- Lucinda Williams' "Big Red Sun," a languid, moody blues-ballad; Memphis Minnie's spirited "In My Girlish Days," John Hiatt's soulful funkpiece, "Love Like Blood" (featuring the riveting opening line, "Take it easy, baby, but take as much as you can."); Chuck Berry's romping "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man." Her taste is as impeccable as her voice, and the combination is irresistible. [inset side=right] ...one of the finest singers on the planet...[/inset]The thing that ties it all together is her amazing voice, THAT voice, about which Music Week says, "One moment it flashes bright and bold as sheet lightning. The next it cozies and purrs like a kitten. O'Brien can bend it to angular jazz movements, run it up and down rock and roll riffs with a guitar or blast it straight into the onslaught of a saxophone. Then, only moments later, that voice can curl like wispy smoke around the blue notes of a piano."
San Diego Union Tribune, 9/17/98 --3 1/2 Stars
Perhaps best known as half of a bluegrass duo with brother Tim, Mollie O'Brien has pretty much kept off the 'grass for her new solo album.
"Big Red Sun" -- the title song is Lucinda Williams' achingly simple lament, lovingly done here -- mostly celebrates the blues, starting with an understanding update of Memphis Minnie's "In My Girlish Days." Typical of the top-flight material is John Hiatt's "Love Like Blood," its basic sentiment wrapped in O'Brien's gorgeous voice and dressed up in Nick Forster's ever-subtle guitar playing.
Associated Press, Sound Bites: Audio Review, 9/8/98
Mollie O'Brien's last album was a collection of songs that ranged all over the map stylistically, but on "Big Red Sun" she focuses on acoustic blues. Her smoky voice is well suited to the style, and while there's nothing as sultry as "Sign Your Name" from "Tell It True," she comes close on "Looking for Trouble." Lucinda Williams' "Big Red Sun Blues" gets nice treatment here, as does Chuck Berry's "Brown Eyed Handsome Man." O'Brien surrounds herself with some of acoustic music's top players, including Robin and Linda Williams and Peter Rowan. Overall, a solid effort from one of roots music's best interpreters and singers.
Country Standard Time, 10/98
While her previous albums, including her collaborations with brother Tim, have been a delicious blend of bluegrass, blues and folk, the latest from Mollie O'Brien offers listeners a healthy dose of the full range of her formidable talents as a vocalist, and soulful interpreter.
The bluesy numbers recall the best work of Bonnie Raitt, but considering the diversity showcased throughout, it's unfair to attach too much of a comparison to anyone. Randy Newman, John Hiatt and Chuck Berry are among the more contemporary writers whose material is confidently interpreted by the songstress, while blues standards by Memphis Minnie and Willie Dixon are infused with the modern, crystalline quality of O'Brien's powerful voice.
Highlights include the mournful title track, written by Lucinda Williams, and the gorgeous gospel-tinged "No Ash Will Burn."
It's always a pleasure to hear an artist make the transition from merely interesting to extraordinary, but in O'Brien's case she seems to have skipped that step and sailed right into the next category - essential listening!Music Row, Nashville's Music Industry Publication, 11/2/98
You obviously don't know about this woman because if you did, she'd be very rich. O'Brien has one of the clearest, truest voices of our time. She is way underrated. [inset side=left] ... Her choice of material is nothing short of brilliant ...[/inset]I can not listen to her live without getting goosebumps, and this rootsy collection of blues, acoustic folk and hybrid Americana showcases her voice as well as a recording can. Her choice of material is nothing short of brilliant, too, with cuts by Memphis Minnie, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Chuck Berry, Steve Goodman and subdude John Magnie. Put on track six, Willie Dixon's "Little Baby," or the traditional spiritual "No Hiding Place," turn it up really loud, and be wowed. You're going to thank me. -C.B.
Selected Press for Tell It True
Tell It True
1996 - Sugar Hill Records
This wonderful album is peppered with excellent material, interpreted with style and grace. Some of Mollie's best work is on her duet albums with Tim, but this album is a great place to discover this lady, who is actually confident enough to cover the '80s classic "Sign Your Name" by Terence Trent D'Arby. Also features a great old Tin Pan Alley song, "Having the Time of My Life."
Graham Weekly Album Review
The album ranges from very traditional material to contemporary songs, from gospel to jazzy to Western Swing, and even includes a wonderful acoustic treatment of a Terence Trent D'Arby pop song. .. virtually every one of the dozen tracks is a gem with either Ms. O'Brien's vocal shining or the musical arrangements being brilliant, or both. The album provides some opportunities for instrumental solos, but the focus remains on Ms. O'Brien's instantly captivating vocals.
Notes from PrairieHome.org
Her first solo CD for Sugar Hill Records, Tell It True was in the top 10 of Gavin's Americana chart for six weeks and astounded her bluegrass fans and reacquainted her with R&B fans.