Monday, November 7, 2022

Molly Healey’s work expands in many ways on ‘Lotus’

Cover for Lotus album. Photo credit: Andie Bottrell of Designing Indie 

Molly Healey, singer-songwriter and player of many strings, is rolling out her fourth album, full of imagination, variety and inspiring performers. 

The CD release show for Lotus will be at The Cellar on November 19. The Molly Healey String Project will perform at 9 p.m. 

Opening the night at 8 p.m. will be Molly (Molly Brady), a singer-songwriter who lives in Springfield.

There are numerous factors that make this album so dynamic:  

“I love growth and I’m always in a state of it,” Healey said. One of her latest growth spurts involves the use of enhanced software (Ableton) for music. “It’s been wonderful! With that has come a trove of new ideas to start adding layers to songs that could never exist before. … It’s really a new level for all of us.” 

Lotus has a choir on “Nothing You Can’t Do” and an orchestra on “From Afar.”

“I struggled for a while to find a title for the album because originally I thought the songs were so diverse,” she said. “But then I realized that a common thread through almost all of the songs was female individualism and empowerment. Lotus is a symbol of that. It’s not a ‘feminist’ album necessarily, but it is very much about the experience of being a woman in this time period, a woman who has a lot to say, and who has a fierce, independent spirit.”

Molly Healey String Project, from left:
Danny Carroll, drums; Molly Healey, strings;
Kyle Day, bass; Zach Harrison, guitars 
Photo credit: Scott Peterson

Here are some high points of music and song by Healeys band and others:

  • Zach Harrison’s twangy solo on electric guitar on “Vice”
  • Kyle Day’s majestic entry to “Glory Box” on bass
  • Healey’s solo cello on Portishead’s “Glory Box,” a dramatic slow ballad 
  • Healey and Annabelle Moore’s duo on “Forever Midnight”
  • Rochara Knight’s voice on “Nothing You Can’t Do”
  • Ronna Haxby playing flute on “Us and Them”

Healey’s percussive chops on violin or cello on several songs feel like a bell announcing that vital music is coming now. The melodies that she writes also make ears perk up, such as those on “Forever Midnight” and “Eye to Eye.” 

Lyrics on this album present diverse moods. 

“One Year In” is a COVID song that she wrote during that time. At one point, Molly and her friends were tired of Zooming. But at least they had the screen.

“That is what this song is about: that dark time of not being able to be around other people. But also it’s a hopeful song — we all have love. That’s the biggest thing.”

“Vice” is a song about addiction, in which ‘a mean little man’ causes addiction in the other person. 

“‘Gravity’ is definitely the song that describes the album’s purpose. This is very much about independence and empowerment and taking control of your life. I wrote it with a female perspective, but it’s really for everybody who feels like they have to take control of something in their lives.”

She has grown beyond the looper, and has found “… a new depth of songwriting and a new focus. It shifted from instrumental and simple looping to song-crafting and storytelling.”

“My songwriting has developed through the pandemic in a way that it might not have without all of the downtime. This is not to say that I’m thankful for the lockdown — far from it. As they say, when life hands you the lemon. …”

Healey works alone and with the band. Solo and full band are different shows, she said. “I love both. Playing with a band adds an essential element that I need in my life — playing with other humans — so it’s probably my favorite.”

In the last year, Healey and the band had several peaks. 

“We’ve done the Roots and Blues festival in Columbia, opened for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils here in Springfield, along with a few other festivals. Solo, I’ve had some really wonderful experiences as well, including a debut at Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art, and Thursday Night Live in my hometown of Jefferson City. It’s been a really fabulous year, and I’m excited about the future.”

Molly Healey CD release show

The Cellar

507 West Walnut Street 

7pm-11:30pm, November 19 




Dave Schipper said...

I'm looking forward to buying this... nice write up.

Anonymous said...

Very nice article even better music

Anonymous said...

So looking forward to this album. Molly is such a versatile gemstone in the music world and I’m excited to see what she’s created this time!