Molly Durnin
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Molly Durnin

Albany, New York, United States

Albany, New York, United States
Alternative Singer/Songwriter

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Not so long ago, you could count on both hands the number of female musicians successfully making their way through the local music scene. Sure there’s always been “female fronted” bands, and groups that had a female added for extra ear and/or eye candy, or solo singer/songwriters. But perhaps you’ve noticed that gradually there has come a sea change in the number of female musicians that are important, integral members of the group they’re in, or have developed a distinctive, recognizable sound all their own, regardless of the genre of music.

There’s quite a number that have been rising to the forefront of the local music scene, and I would say we’re much richer for that.

One of the shining stars is vivacious Molly Durnin, and we were lucky enough to have her schedule in coming to the CRUMBS Cafe Studio to record Episode 158 of CRUMBS Cafe.

CRUMBS.net photo-man Rich Krissel was up to the task of capturing Molly playing solo acoustic versions of “Foxes”, “A Wall Apart”, and “Holy Ground”, which can be found on her album “Run”. Afterwards, Cafe host Mike Guzzo and I talked with her about the making and funding of the album through a successful Kickstarter campaign, her recent EXiT Factor win to play at the Capital Area Indie Fest, the dubitable restorative effects of wine-in-a-box, and there might be mention of yellow Jeeps among other topics.

If you would like to sample and find what’s hidden on the “Run” cd, the album is available at iTunes, CDbaby, and Nimbit.

CRUMBS Cafe airs on WEXT 97.7 FM and online Fridays at 9:00pm. Episode 158 with Molly Durnin is scheduled for the Friday, November 9th broadcast. An encore presentation of Episode 140 with White Noise Radio follows at 9:30pm. - Times Union Blog - Andrew Gregory


Last night AOA joined WEXT and Paul Antonell of Clubhouse Studios to help judge the Exit Factor. Ten local bands and solo artists competed for a chance to perform this Saturday night at the Capital Area Indie Fest at The Egg.

The event was a lot of fun, and we met some good local musicians. But the act that blew all the judges away was Molly Durnin. Durnin won the slot hands down. From the moment she stepped on the stage, she owned it.

One of our fellow judges, WEXT's Chris Wienksays of Molly, "She may evoke a familiar sound or style in your head. Maybe you think she has a sound like so-and-so, or something, but often times unique voices like Molly's do that to you. Her on-stage presence is effervescent. She just exudes a feeling that shows you she is at once happy to be there, and almost like she can't believe people would want to see her perform."

Judge Paul Antonell, a music engineer who's worked with Natalie Merchant, Rusted Root, Carley Simon, and a long list of other big names, was an instant fan.

We'd buy a ticket to hear her play again.

Runner up Bridgette Guerrette reminded us of the British singer Ellie Goulding, and we were were surprised to learn she's still a teenager. We're sure we'll be hearing more from her. There's a clip of her after the jump.

Molly Durnin joins Stellar Young (nee The City Never Sleeps), The Hearing Aides, Tor Loney, and High Bridge North, odi Shaw, Sandy McKnight on Saturday at Indie Fest. Tickets are $15.

Thanks to host Christina Dellea, and the Columbia Arts team for putting it on, and for inviting us to participate. - www.Alloveralbany.com


BY BRIAN MCELHINEY Gazette Reporter Reach Gazette reporter Brian

In the four-plus years I’ve been working for the Gazette, I’ve been to The Egg more times than I can count, usually to review a show.
It’s always been one of my favorite venues in the area — the sound, in both the larger Hart Theatre and the small Swyer Theatre, is impeccable, the staff is always friendly and the wireless Internet flows freely (an important thing when you’re trying to file a review on deadline).
Not to mention the amazing artists that have played on those stages — I’ve witnessed incredible shows there by Billy Bragg, Colin Hay, Stephen Stills, The Psychedelic Furs and Mary Chapin Carpenter, to name just a few off the top of my head.
Last Saturday, I once again found myself heading to The Egg, this time as a performer — something I’d never even dreamed was possible.
My band, The Hearing Aides, was part of the bill on the third annual Capital Area Indie Fest, hosted by Sandy McKnight, the Columbia Arts Team (CAT) and Exit 97.7, WEXTFM, along with other local up-andcomers Robert Ruark, High Bridge North, Stellar Young (who before this show were known as The City Never Sleeps), and Tor Loney and The Fjords.
Brooklyn’s Jodi Shaw, Best New Artist at CAT’s Songfest 7 held this summer at Helsinki Hudson, and Molly Durnin, who won the Exit Factor competition held at The Linda the Thursday prior, were also on the bill.
All the musicians began fi ling into the Swyer Theatre at 3:30 p.m. that day for sound check. Many had never been inside the place before (such as my bassist, Rob Piccola, who ended up parking a few blocks away and wandering around the state Capitol for an hour before finding it). Others had had this experience before; Ruark was returning to play solo, after playing the last two Indie Fests with his band White Noise Radio.
For all the musicians, though, the experience was a dream come true, as cliché as that sounds.
“Before I lived in Albany, I had an aunt who lived here, and I always used to just look at this weird building and wonder what it was,” John Glenn, lead vocalist for Stellar Young, said.
“When I moved here I found out it was a venue. Of course I’m really interested in music, and I also like to run — I live up the street, so I’m always running past it. I’d actually never even been inside The Egg until about two weeks before we played — I saw Coheed and Cambria play there, and it was just a great spot.”
The crowd began filing in at 6:30, eventually filling nearly two-thirds of the 400-plus seat theater. Attendance was up from previous years, with McKnight estimating the crowd at about 250.
“One of the great things I thought happened this year that I don’t think happened in past years, was that the audience for all the different bands — people came to see different bands, but stayed for everybody else,” McKnight said.
“We had a pretty full house right from the beginning, and it stayed that way right until the last note. Many even stayed in the lobby afterwards — we had quite a crowd in the lobby afterwards.”
Tickets were sold at the door, but most of the attendees had purchased tickets previously from one of the performers. The artist who sold the most tickets got the longest set and closed out the evening — in this case that was singer-songwriter Loney, who fronted a trio, The Fjords, featuring bassist Sarah Clark and drummer Scott Smith of Charmboy.
“My fans — people I had invited and sold tickets to — all talked about all the other acts — no one just talked about the one piece of the show they originally came for,” Loney said. “One friend of mine in particular who doesn’t really go out to shows — this exposed him to things he wouldn’t normally be exposed to. There was some of that among the bands as well — we’re all doing a common thing, we’re all in a pretty similar space in terms of this being a new experience for us, so it felt nice to share that also.” OPENING ACT
As producer, McKnight got to open the show with an acoustic set, performing two solo numbers including his latest single “Someone,” and two numbers with fellow Columbia Arts Team heads Liv Cummings and Christina Dellea. (He also made a well-placed crack about fi lling in for Elvis Costello at birthday parties, just as my bandmates and I were discussing his eerie vocal similarity to the British rocker.)
McKnight had played on The Egg’s stage more than any of the rest of us — in addition to fronting bands during the first two Indie Fests, he has also opened for a few larger shows that have come through the venue in the past. He preferred the solo setup this year — “It probably was more effective in that setting, I think, than doing it with a full band.”
Ruark took the stage solo after McKnight, belting out rock-oriented originals on electric guitar. Shaw was up next, although I didn’t get to hear much of her set — I was with my bandmates waiting in the wings to go on, and not f - The Daily Gazette


by Jessica Nguyen



Discovering Molly Durnin is exactly what I was lucky enough to do on a random by chance crossing at a local Harvest Festival in upstate New York. She was playing her music for all the craft vendors and I was slowly walking by- money burning a hole in my pocket. I was stopped short by Durnin’s soft voice and guitar playing. Quickly, I found myself abandoning whatever plans I had to spend money on something I probably didn’t need. Instead, I ran over to her merch table and picked up her album, Run, which took her a year to record. It’s her first release.

In this new era where smart phone’s take over your brain, it was easy enough to gather some research while she was still on stage. Durnin grew up in Grafton, NY and started playing music at the age of six. It started with the piano lessons her mother enrolled her in., though she didn’t really like the piano. With the help of her mother, she taught herself the guitar. At 19-years-old, Durnin got her first big gig, opening a show for Missy Higgins on a Rocking on the River show in New York.

When I asked Durnin how her parents reacted when she told them she wanted to pursue music I was happy to hear it was positive. “ I have always had really positive, supportive parents growing up. I come from a very creative family,” she says. I was surprised to hear that she didn’t even own a radio until the age of 13. She lived on the music her mother played for her and she does credit her mother being one of her biggest music influences because of this. Her parents have a special music room in their house. However, her parents are also realists and wanted her to have a degree as back up. She successfully finished getting one in Civil Engineering. Now that she took care of school, Durnin says it’s “full stream ahead on the music career.”

One of her favorite musicians today is Jack Johnson . I asked if she would ever want to work with him. “I would be too flustered,” Durnin says. As I usually do, I asked this musician to share an interesting story about her music and travels. Durnin is a girl who knows how to find humor. “I was playing a show in Black Bar Inn and while I was playing, a fight between a guy and his girlfriend broke out. The girlfriend attack the boyfriend- who I will call Cowboy- and he went flying through the air yelling the girl’s name. I kept playing the show the whole time while this went on like nothing was happening . I felt like I was in a bad movie scene.” Durnin assured me this was a rare thing that happened at this venue because she plays there a lot.

With the holidays approaching faster than we hope them to, I also asked her about one of my favorite songs on the album “Snowman.” Turns out, it’s one of her favorites to play as well. “I wrote “Snowman” around Christmas time before I recorded the album . I was sitting on Facebook and someone put a picture of an overweight women with a shopping cart full of food. In a split screen of this wall post, there was also a picture of a starving child with his bones showing through. It made me really think of how Christmas has become so commercialized. I hate it and it disgusts me. So, “Snowman” is a dark song. It’s an anti-Christmas song.”

Molly Durnin is a girl of many talents. “I rebuilt my Jeep piece by piece with my father. I gave him the puppy dog eyes. It took two years,” she says. She doesn’t have upcoming shows in this area. But if you want to see her, take a drive to New York. Don’t worry if you are concerned about your car falling apart on the way, Molly will know what to do. - www.ThatMusicMag.com


Reviewed by Jessica Nguyen

Every once in a while you hear a new artist who stops you in your tracks. This is one of those great singer/song writers. Run is nothing short of amazing. The album is quick to catch your attention. “Snowman” and “Down to the Devil” are worth listening to over and over. Buy this album- Durnin’s lyrics and voice are a perfect match for one another and blend beautifully with every instrument on every song. - www.ThatMusicMag.com


Ten Local 518 performers – both solo acts and bands – threw their hats into the ring for the Exit Factor, a music competition held on Thursday night (October 4) at The Linda in Albany. They each had 10 minutes in the spotlight to perform their original music.

The evening was hosted by the Columbia Arts Team’s Christina Dellea, and the winners were selected by a the combination of audience votes and a panel of judges.

In the end, Bridgette Guerrette was named the runner-up, winning 100 duplicated CDs digi-printed in clamshell packaging, donated by HAVE, Inc.

And the grand prize winner of the Exit Factor was Molly Durnin, who earned the opportunity to perform at The Egg in Albany on Saturday (October 6) as part of the third annual Capital Area Indie Fest, where she’ll be sharing the stage with Stellar Young, the Hearing Aides, Tor Loney, High Bridge North, Jodi Shaw, Sandy McKnight and more.

And that means that Durnin’s gonna have quite the jam-packed Saturday night. She’s also slated to headline that same night at More Bread & Jam’s grand opening in Cohoes with Erin Powers opening the show. - www.Nippertown.com


Review by Matt Mac Haffie

If you don’t know the captivating singer-songwriter Molly Durnin, you really should… and most likely will. Molly is a gifted artist on the rise, clearly destined for big things. I first walked in on her playing as part the Victorian Stroll and was blown away by the power of her live performance. A small-town,eastern NY gal who got off to a quiet start in 2007, she was latter spotted at an open mic by Maurizio, a stand-out musician in his own right. Maurizio tracked Molly’s first demos, which led to the release of her debut CD “Run.”

“Run” opens with the inviting lead track “Foxes,” a simple yet infectious lock-step guitar-bass-drums groove over which she floats her seemingly effortless vocals to great effect. A turn towards the blues can be heard on “Holy Ground” and “Down to the Devil,” the latter bringing to mind Bonnie Raitt. Other tracks like “The Ocean” and “Extraterrestrial” evoke Ani DiFranco.

Moods shift, genres change, all punctuated by a mature delivery and unique phrasing that should be beyond that of a mere 23-year-old. “Cheap Wine,” the tail end of this masked fox-emblazoned release, is ushered in by the sound of her Jeep and the call of birds. It is the most indicative of her live solo performances and holds up just as well as any of the album’s band-aided tracks. Molly’s songs are first rate, well crafted and solid throughout. The players are pros (including members of the City Never Sleeps and veteran bassist Tony Markellis); the cover art is cool; and the production of Frank Moscowitz is excellent.

Once Molly Durnin has your ears you will not want her to let go. This remarkable debut CD is sure to garner a solid rotation in WEXT-FM’s Local 518 line-up.

Molly will be performing at 6pm on Thursday (July 12) at the Waterford Library’s Backlot Concert Series. Admission is free. And she’ll likely have a fresh batch of “Run” CDs under her arm. - www.Nippertown.com


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Molly was raised in a rural area sometimes called “the foothills of the Berkshires”, born into a close-knit family that loved music and nurtured her creativity. She started piano lessons around age six, showing a natural ability and exuberance, however she played every piano piece a little too fast and eventually lost interest in reading music, and took to playing by ear.

When she was thirteen, her brother became a student filmmaker, so she began writing background music for his videos on synthesizer and computer software. All the while, she was absorbing the rich, diverse music playing nonstop on the stereo in the family’s music room – in particular, a heavy dose of all the female vocalists that her guitar-playing mother loved – icons like Patsy Cline, Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, and Shawn Colvin.

When Molly finally picked up the guitar herself and began singing and writing lyrics, it was evident to everyone around her that she had a gift for songwriting. During college she began playing open mics, and at the age of nineteen she opened for Missy Higgins at Revolution Hall in Troy, her first high-profile performance. Since that time she has played at venues throughout the Capital Region, including a recent Emerging Artist Breakout performance at Caffe Lena in Saratoga, the renowned folk club.

Molly continues to write one great song after another, and with the release of her new CD, she will now seek a wider audience while pursuing life as an indie musician.