Molly Pinto Madigan
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Molly Pinto Madigan

Salem, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Salem, Massachusetts, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Molly Pinto Madigan to Release Wildwood Bride on the North Shore"

Some artists focus their efforts on playing a small number of shows, while others spend their time releasing albums and recording tunes. If there’s a master of both, it’s clearly Molly Pinto Madigan. If you've been to the downtown Salem area, there's no doubt that you've seen Molly’s name etched in chalk outside of a coffee house teasing a performance that evening. The Salem State University “Artist of the Year” has a staggering resume when it comes to venues she’s performed around the Boston area; ranging from headlining shows at Lynn’s Walnut Street Café to the Boston Celtic Music Festival. Molly has also been the recipient of some rather notable awards, including the first place prize in WUMB's Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and most recently the 2014 Big Red Recognition for best female singer songwriter.

Molly’s latest endeavor comes in the form of her album “Wildwood Bride." Serving as a proper outlet for her storytelling, “Wildwood Bride” has an echoey composition that gives the murder ballads a haunting resonance. Her already airy vocals reach a new ethereal plane with the guidance of carefully specked instrumentation and an especially prominent acoustic guitar sound that is both ominous and delicate.

The album’s creation didn’t come without a fair share of artistic struggles, however. “The hardest part was letting go of some of my perfectionism and letting the album unfold. I have a tendency to want to control everything – including myself and my voice – and because of this, my past experiences in the studio setting have been really stressful” Molly said. Eric Lichter from Dirt Floor helped her fly through this recording process and made it clear that sometimes perfection isn’t always best. “Perfection can be sterile. It can be cold. I want to hear the breaths, and the pitch bends, and all moments that make a recording real. And I realized that so many of my favorite songs have that intimate, human quality to them” she said. “ I tried to go with the flow and trust in Eric Lichter’s talent, and I’m really thrilled with how the album turned out. It’s a learning process.”

There are plenty of stories of artists leaving the studio and waiting a long time to start the writing process again, and this is quite the opposite for Molly. “This is the first time I haven’t come out of the recording process totally drained and discouraged” Molly said. “So as far as future albums go, it’s taught me that it can be a relaxed, imaginative, nourishing experience. I’m already planning the next one.” Molly also took the entire “Wildwood Bride” recording process to heart when it comes to her upcoming shows, and has helped put things into perspective for her regarding taking these tracks from the studio to the stage. “Seeing my stripped down songs grow into these beautiful, gilded things with bass, drums, harpsichord, celesta – it made me think of the songs in a different way. I hear them differently in my head, and, inevitably, I approach them differently from a performance perspective.”

Molly continued by adding that “I’m not a very loud musician, nor am I particularly flashy in my performance style, but I do love what I do.” The only thing she loves more than preforming is seeing others enjoy her music as much as she does. “If I can share a song with you, and feel that, even for a moment, I’m being heard as an artist . . . That’s priceless.”

Molly Pinto Madigan is having her North Shore CD release party for Wildwood Bride on Wednesday April 22 at the Peabody Institute Library. The event is free to the public, however registration is required. - Creative Salem


"Album Highlight Friday: Molly Pinto Madigan “Wildwood Bride” by Brian Carroll"

Molly Pinto Madigan is a damn fine songwriter. A weaver of tales and observations. There is something very pure and sweet about her delivery, angelic even. The way that this album was pulled together in its instrumentation highlights and only strengthens the songstresses craft, like a thread through a seam, intensifying the delivery of her words. Something Eric Lichter does so well, as we all know too well. Yes friends, another Dirt Floor family member has risen from the ash and ‘Wildwood Bride” shines like the goldest of phoenix.

Madigan’s voice is airy and light. It has a delicate flow in the way it dances across the arrangements, yet it stands out. When she needs to bring it, she does, but this isn’t your “X-tina” screaming type way, there is a subtly to the way that she proves the power of her voice. It is perhaps the balance in how you lean in so close to hear the story of the song when she is softly crooning with the build of the chorus on songs like “Here Comes the Night” or maybe songs like “Bloom” with their slow pick and faintly painted vocal harmonies just make you listen extra harder because you want each and every nuance to cross your ear canal.

There is something deeply poetic in her words. A definite sense of yearning and desire is laced throughout the tracks. I feel as though many album covers are random, or just what design maybe looked best and utilized a logo or font…Molly’s album cover and artwork perfectly encompasses the feeling of the songs contained within. A siren drifting through an evergreen forest, singing her songs out for the trees and the fauna. Something secretive, withheld but with an occasional glimpse into her mind. There is some beauty pressed deep into these songs. - Red Line Roots


"On the Radar -- April 22nd"

As her voice rises up from the mists of the British Isles, Molly Pinto Madigan weaves tales that complement the sad gentleness of her version of Folk music. Molly delivers her vocals with darkness in the notes and an edge to her tales as she counts summers to “Twenty-Five” while waiting for the coldness of winter to descend. Wildwood Bride is the latest release from the New England native, and the title track sparkles as the young girl to be wed meets the promises of her ‘Wildwood man’. Molly Pinto Madigan has a near breathless hush to her voice as she slowly tells her stories of the fox (“On the Hunt”), the shadows of deceit (“Pomeroy”), the flowering of love (“Bloom”), and New England snow (“Doldrums”). - - The Alternate Root Magazine


"Molly Pinto Madigan – 2014 Iguana Fund Winner"

Iguana Music Fund: Briefly tell us about yourself as an artist/presenter/performer.

Molly Pinto Madigan: I’m a singer/songwriter with a background in bluegrass and Celtic music. I’m enamored of ballads and fairy tales and rock music, and in my spare time, I write novels. I recently finished writing the third book in a trilogy based on the ballad of “Tam Lin.”

IMF: Tell us about the Iguana-funded project you’re working on. What is currently exciting you about the project? What does the project as a whole mean for your career?

MPM: My Iguana-funded project is a full-length studio album called “Wildwood Bride,” which I recorded at Dirt Floor in Connecticut. The album is made up of 12 original tracks with varied instrumentation, and the CDs are finished – I’m staring at a couple of boxes of them, which seem to be mounting a coup to take over my dining room table. (It’s working.) The vinyl is being made, but because of the rise of hipsters, vinyl production is backed up.

IMF: What’s one piece of advice you would give to others trying to carve out a career in music or art?

MPM: I guess I’d say: be persistent. A career in music is hard. It’s frustrating, and it can be supremely disheartening. Be persistent, be resilient. I’m mostly talking to myself here, because it’s advice I need to hear, too. Everyone always tells you that it’s a business and you need to be savvy about it, which is absolutely true, but remember why you make music, why you make art, and hold onto that. Don’t lose the magic. If you’re honest with yourself and love what you’re creating, that will resonate with people.

IMF: When’s your next local show (aside from Iguana Night on 3/30)?

MPM: My CD release show is at Club Passim on March 19th. Please come! I’m terrified it’s just going to be me and my parents there. And the Whiskey Boys, who are playing, too. And maybe their parents. Please come! - Club Passim


"Quick Q and A with Molly Pinto Madigan"

Molly Pinto Madigan is quite an extraordinary young woman. She’s a veritable whirlwind of creativity. If she’s not performing a show, she’s writing a book. If she’s not writing a book, she’s helping to produce a concert series at the local library or giving a workshop on music to students at her alma mater. Molly clearly has music in her soul; she weaves musical tales of love and love lost with a charming, clear voice that is reminiscent of Sandy Denny.

To learn more about Molly, check out her website.

Here’s a video of Molly singing her song “The Storm.”

Moly Pinto Madigan

Has music always been an important part of your life? What are your earliest recollections of hearing or playing music?

Music has definitely always been a big part of my life. My parents have always been music-lovers, and some of my earliest musical memories were me and my mom dancing around the house to her Beatles CDs. Because of her, I still know the lyrics to just about every Beatles song, and they’re still my favorite band of all time. (That’s why I was so psyched to be a part of the “All You Need is Love” benefit at the me & thee this year!) The Beatles, The Smiths, The Cranberries, Roxy Music, Queen: my mom’s favorite bands became mine, too. I also was enchanted by lullabies — all the traditional ones that are kind of spooky and melancholy and tender and mysterious all at once. I remember being three and four and really thinking hard about specific songs. The first part of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was one. I remember that really clearly, imagining the narrator, feeling his heartache. It was beautiful and sad and my little child-self almost couldn’t handle it. “Molly Malone” was another one in the so-sad-it-hurts-but-I-also-can’t-get-enough-of-it-what-is-this-beautiful-pain kind of way. And “Yesterday” by The Beatles. I still like songs like that.

My first performance was when I sang “Tainted Love” (my favorite song at the time) in front of a crowd with a karaoke mic. Yep, my music career pretty much peaked at age six.

Tell us about your time with Jaded Mandolin. How long did you play together?

Jaded Mandolin was a bluegrass band that came into being when I was probably fourteen or fifteen, but Eric, Michael, Adrian, and I had played together under different band names for a couple of years before that, and we’d been friends for longer still. We were all home-schooled and were in the same home-schooling group. We played music together until I was 17 and people started going to college. Being in Jaded Mandolin really opened me up to traditional music and gave me a taste of the Boston folk scene — we headlined at Club Passim, opened for Claire Lynch, and recorded our first CD together. We grew as musicians together, and I’m the performer I am today because of Jaded Mandolin. (I got the only-wearing-pajamas-onstage thing out of my system.)

Did it take a lot of adjustment when you first started playing solo?

I think you’re forgetting my “Tainted Love” karaoke stint; I was already a pro.
No, in reality, there’s a certain comfort in having a band behind you. At first, it was lonely onstage. If you mess up as a solo artist, it’s all on you. It’s harder to hide, and I liked the support being in a band offered. There’s also a certain energy that a band brings, and you have to adjust to that when you’re on the stage yourself. But I’ve really learned to enjoy performing solo. I love being in control, artistically. I love the freedom being a solo artist brings. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with myself and my songwriting, but I am.

You won a songwriting competition sponsored by WUMB when you were a teenager. What was the song that you sang that night and do you still perform it?

The song was called “I’m Bound Away.” I dropped the “I’m” so now it’s just “Bound Away,” and it’s on my first solo album, Outshine the Dusk. My first instrument was piano, so that’s what I wrote it for, and when there’s a piano onstage, I’ll play it from time to time. I also play it on guitar occasionally, but it’s not the same. That song was really inspired by traditional balladry, European and American, and the ballads are still a huge influence on my songwriting today. I recently wrote a song called “Pomeroy,” which is a song based on a short story I wrote, which was based on the traditional “Reynardine” (a.k.a. “The Mountains of Pomeroy). I think “Bound Away” really marked the beginning of me finding my voice as a songwriter. It was the first song I wrote that I really liked.

Is it true that you studied both English and Music in college? Did the study of literature help sharpen your songwriting skills?

I graduated from Salem State with a BA in Music and a minor in English, but I’ve always been a big reader. And writer. The study of literature and poetry exposed me to a lot of different voices and styles. That definitely influenced my own songwriting. I took a lot of creative writing classes at Salem State, and I was fortunate enough to have professors in both English and music who really supported me, creatively.

Molly_Pinto Madigan

Your style is quite reminiscent of Celtic / British folk from years past. What is it about that kind of music that captures your imagination?

Well, my grandmother was from Belfast, so my dad’s side of the family really identifies with Irish culture. I had a brief stint with Irish Stepdancing around the same time as my “Tainted Love” period, so I suppose that was my first exposure to Irish traditional music. My dad and I always listen to a lot of Celtic music when we’re in the car together. I don’t know, though, it’s always just struck a chord with me (pun fully intended). Especially vocal music. Sean-nos, Gaelic laments — I love the love, the heartbreak, the story each song tells. I’m a weird hybrid of Celtic and American influences. I love the warmth and fullness of Americana, the colors, and I love the mystery, the honesty, the trembling ornamentation of Celtic music. You can hear both currents in my own music.

I understand that plans are starting to take place about a second recording. How will this next project differ from your first solo CD?

I had recorded a CD with Jaded Mandolin, but Outshine the Dusk was my first solo album. Most of the songs were on the old side, because I hadn’t been writing that much music when I recorded it, but since last October, I’ve written 17 new songs. So, this new album is going to be fresh and exciting. I recorded the first one during my last semester at Salem State, so I was stressed out and rushed, and I’m going to be more relaxed about this one. I’m going to take my time and make sure it gets done right. Outshine the Dusk was just me. Voice, guitar, piano: only me. For this album, it’s going to have fuller instrumentation. I’m scheduled to go into the studio in the beginning of November to record at Dirt Floor. I’m a huge fan of the music that’s been coming out of Eric Lichter’s studio, which is basically this amazing log cabin in the wilds of Connecticut. Ian Fitzgerald, Wise Old Moon, Kerri Powers, Hannah Fair, Jonah Tolchin: they’ve all come out with incredible albums from Dirt Floor — vibrant and singing and alive with Eric Lichter’s guidance.

Please tell us about your fiction writing. You’ve written short stories as well as a young adult novel. What drives you to write?

What drives me to write? Good question. I’ve always had an overactive imagination, so I come up with these stories and I write because I feel compelled to get them out. Even when I was little, I’d come up with these stories and screenplays and songs that I’d try to write down. My best friend learned to read before I did, so I’d dictate stories and she’d write them down for me. When she complained that she was tired and it wasn’t fun for her anymore, I’d have my mom pen them. I was a workaholic at age five. Not much has changed. (I finally did learn how to read, though.)

So, my first full-length book (I had a two-part novella about an Egyptologist who just-so-happened to have brown, curly hair and eyes that shifted between green and blue and gray [me]) was a collection of fairy-tale retellings. Short stories and poems. I wrote it during a directed study at Salem State with a magical professor who loved fairy tales as much as I did (she still loves them in chilly Minnesota). Then, the summer before my senior year, I wrote my first novel. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it, but I gave myself three months to do it, and I had it done before classes started in September. It’s 330 pages long, and it’s a retelling of the Scottish ballad “Tam Lin,” set in modern-day Salem during the month of October. I won’t give too much away, but think folksongs, faeries, and a seedy rock club in the heart of downtown Salem. I signed with my agent last November, and I’m almost done writing the third novel in the trilogy. It’s actually considered ‘New Adult,’ because the protagonist is a Salem State student. A Salem State student with brown, curly hair and eyes that shift between green and blue and gray. Some things never change.

What are your long-term goals?

I want to keep writing music and books and growing as an artist. I want to keep feeding my overactive imagination and being creative and finding inspiration in the world around me. A little money would be nice somewhere in the future, but it’s not a deal-breaker. I’d like to get my novels published, I’d like to make some beautiful CDs, and I’d like to be able to play shows to audiences that aren’t entirely comprised of blood relations. That’s not a deal-breaker either, though. And while I’d like to be able to sell out places like Club Passim and the me & thee coffeehouse, I hope my parents and my sister are always there in the audience to cheer me on. - Everything Sundry (Kathy Sands Boehmer)


"Wildwood Bride CD Review"

Wildwood Bride
12 tracks

The opening guitar part of the first song, “Bloom,” brings me right to Joni Mitchell’s first album, “Song to a Seagull.” Molly has a little girl voice but I love the innocence she puts into this music. There is so much music out today that seems to be ground out of casual relationships, indifferent emotions and ennui. She is singing about love in a sweet way that I don’t hear too often. “Rose and columbine/ if you will be mine/ take me in the briar/ thorn pale with desire, with love.” “Here Comes the Night” has an old English feel, sort of like Pentangle or Fairport Convention. The cover photos (she looks a bit like Laura Nyro) and atmosphere of the music has a fairy-woodland feeling – a young woman who is romantic and knows how to put her feelings to music. “Siren” clips along on the back of a banjo. The collection of songs is delightful and rings with originality. I love the melody of “Twenty-five.” “On the Hunt” taps into a Celtic vein too. “Swansong” is exquisite. I love what Molly is doing here. She is feminine and soft, poetic and kind, and I applaud her heart. I think the world would be a better place if we heard more music like this. - The Noise Boston


Discography

WILDWOOD BRIDE (2015)
OUTSHINE THE DUSK (2013)
JADED MANDOLIN (2006)

Photos

Bio


"Molly Pinto Madigan's voice resides and surrounds the frequency of angels -- her music destroys me."
-Jeff Black, GRAMMY-recognized singer/songwriter

"Molly Pinto Madigan is quite an extraordinary young woman.  She’s a veritable whirlwind of creativity.  If she’s not performing a show, she’s writing a book. If she’s not writing a book, she’s helping to produce a concert series at the local library or giving a workshop on music to students at her alma mater. Molly clearly has music in her soul; she weaves musical tales of love and love lost with a charming, clear voice that is reminiscent of Sandy Denny."
-Kathy Sands-Boehmer of the Me & Thee Coffeehouse


"Molly Pinto Madigan pulls the listener in with her captivating lyrics and hauntingly beautiful voice. She uniquely combines elements of folk, bluegrass and Celtic but obviously has a love for classic rock and contemporary pop. Her new record Wildwood Bride has something for each individual taste and music lovers in general will have a tough time picking a favorite track."
-John Shea, WATD's Almost Famous

"I had the pleasure of hearing Molly Pinto Madigan tonight at Lizard Lounge Open Mic Challenge. Let me tell you world this young lady has got it, got it, got it! Watch out she will be taking over the world!"
-Jenee Halstead, singer/songwriter

Hailed for her angelic voice and haunting compositions, Molly Pinto Madigan won first place in WUMB's Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest and was named "Artist of the Year" at Salem State University, her alma mater.  Since her debut as the lead singer for the teen bluegrass band Jaded Mandolin, Madigan has submerged herself in the dark, luscious world of ballads, drawn to their magic, and her original songs echo with the whisperings of the American and European traditional music.

Madigan has performed extensively around the Boston area at venues like Club Passim, The Boston Celtic Music Festival, First Night Boston, Cantab Lounge, notloB Parlor Concerts, Campfire Festival, The Lizard Lounge, and The Bull Run, sharing the stage with some big names in folk music, including Claire Lynch, Scott Alarik, Bridget Fitzgerald (of Cherish the Ladies), Robbie O'Connell (of The Clancy Brothers), Susan Cattaneo, Jeff Black, Tracy Grammer, and John Carter Cash.  She has been featured on WUMB's Local Folk,
WATD's Almost Famous, as well as WBRS's Off the Beaten Path.






Band Members