Molly Maher is blessed. She writes songs that ring true. Her singing is a ﬁne balance of deep and soulful, somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris. And to top it all, she picks a mean guitar.
On her fourth release, she leads her loose-knit Disbelievers through a sweet blend of folk, bluesy, and countryfried rock. Maher walks a perfect line between catchy and cool.
This is a rare singer/songwriter album that’s got a heavy dose of guitars throughout. Maher moves between acoustic rhythm guitar and Dobro on most all tracks. She’s backed by Erik Koskinen and Paul Bergen on an array of slide, tremoloed, baritone guitars, some vintage. The frontline is obviously having fun with its bag of tricks, which seemingly includes experimenting with most every setting on their guitars and amps, plus a healthy selection of pedals and vibrato units. More power to ’em!
The opener, “Somewhere Down the Road,” is radio-friendly, alt-country hit material with gorgeous guitar work throughout. Maher’s vocals are accented by shimmering chords and highlighted by a wah-wah solo that sounds incongruous – and killer. The recording quality is clear and warm throughout, a true pleasure. “Blinded By Love” rides on a reggae backbeat and swirling organ lines, a supremely cool mix that creates a great lilting groove for a country song. “Shook Down” is juke-joint blues with a mysterious mood, bouncing between overdriven guitars and harp.
This is one well crafted and highly inspired album of alt-country songs and guitar worth checking out.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’12 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.