Molasses Skye
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Molasses Skye


Band R&B Acoustic


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"Skye Writing"

Kyshona Armstrong and Rachel Cole, who make up the acoustic roots duo Molasses Skye, don't think nerves will be a problem when they perform perhaps their biggest show ever Saturday afternoon on the Hull Street stage at AthFest.

After all, the pair, who have a shared background in musical therapy and have played together for about six months, probably face a potentially tougher crowd nearly every week when they spend a couple of evenings performing for passersby in downtown Athens' College Square.

"It's cool," says guitarist/vocalist Armstrong of Molasses Skye's sidewalk concerts, which generally take place in front of The Grill. "We're out there busking to get our faces out. People stop and listen, and some buy CDs and offer great feedback. We love it when people stop, sit and listen. We usually go out there once or twice a week from 7 to 10 p.m., before it gets too crazy. It's our way of advertising our shows - we've been spreading the word that way."

A native of South Carolina, Armstrong had worked in music therapy and had her own solo career going for several years before she met Cole (who adds percussion and spoken word flourishes to the pair's all-inclusive musical style), a University of Georgia student from Conyers who's earning a double major in music therapy and psychology.

"An old classmate of mine is a friend of Rachel's, and we met through music therapy," says Armstrong, who's been playing guitar for about 10 years. "We've gotten to where we can read each other pretty well; she's keen with what's about to happen with the music. She's a poet and I'm trying to get her to sing more, but she's also a very talented musician who plays piano and played saxophone in high school."

Both Armstrong and Cole brought differing influences into the group, and many of those inspirations find their way into Molasses Skye's sonic approach.

"I grew up listening to a lot of rock and alternative music, and Rachel grew up on old-school rhythm and blues," says Armstrong, who adds she was able to stock up on her repertoire of riffs when she played with her father and grandfather while on break from college. "When people ask us what kind of music we play, we say we play roots music. There's blues mixed with folk and rock and soul. We get compared to Jill Scott and Tracy Chapman a lot, but I think it's more because it's black women and an acoustic guitar."

Besides their mutual interest in music therapy, Armstrong (who released a solo album, "Sole Soul: The Heart of Kyshona," in 2005) and Cole both have a taste for sweet things, including the sugary syrup known as molasses, where they've derived their name.

"We were playing at a coffeehouse in Inman Park in Atlanta and found that we both like molasses," says Armstrong. "Nobody else we know likes it. And the term 'molasses sky' is used a lot in poetry to designate something new or a new day is coming. I think it works pretty well for us."

The duo's immediate future seems pretty set. Cole has another year remaining at UGA and Armstrong - who's worked in music therapy since 2002, most recently at Clarke County's Rutland Academy - has hopes they can keep the act together after Cole graduates.

"We talk about the future, but she needs to push ahead with what she wants to do; I don't want to hold her back," says Armstrong. "And I really don't like to put time tables on things. It's our fun moment. If it keeps going, that would be awesome, and if it doesn't, well at least it was fun. But we're hoping big things can come along. Playing AthFest is huge for us."

Molasses Skye

When: 3:40 to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Outdoor stage at AthFest

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 062207 - Athens


"A Taste of Molasses" : EP, Copyright '07



Rachel and Kyshona met in the world of music therapy, both using their talents to give back to those in need. It only made sense to combine their styles, strengths, and experiences to create a sound that belongs to no one else. Playing low key venues and coffee shops, the best place to see Molasses Skye is where the magic all began for them both: downtown Athens, captivating the masses as they pass by. If walking around Athens, GA you will know when you've come upon Molasses Skye. Combining the elements of acoustic music sprinkled with percussion and spoken word, they create a distinct and inviting sultry, soulful sound. Drawing a diverse crowd of listeners from all types of backgrounds, they simply.....stop. No one is rushing by, everyone is watching, waiting, listening, and experiencing the essence of Molasses Skye.