Molly Nova is best known to area blues fans as a long time member of Bob Dorr's Blue Band -- an Iowa institution which makes occasional appearances in Minnesota. Turk "Wildturkeyhawk" Krause is also a lifetime musician well known in the Midwest -- most recently also with the Blue Band. The "Molly and the Hawk" band grew out of the two's association with the Blue Band when they discovered a niche they thought they must pursue.
Molly's trademark is her 5 string electric violin. She also plays bass and shares the vocals with Turk on this release. Turk is the drummer and shares vocals. The musicians that complete the ensemble for this CD are Tom Bruner and Jeff Petersen on guitars and Sam SaLomone on the Hammond B-3 Organ.
The band dubs itself "a sweet rockin' roots n' blues band." There's not a whole lot of blues in this package, but it is a tight production featuring Molly on the electric violin and vocals. I found the CD reminiscent of those old Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna records that featured Papa John Creach on violin. Not just because of the violin, but also because of the somewhat dreamy aura of many of those old tunes going back to the psychedelic era. All of the eleven songs are originals. The lyrics are general more complex than average and warrant paying close attention to.
The CD opens with "What You Did" a somewhat funky mid-tempo song about a relationship-gone-bad featuring Molly on violin and vocals. In a vengeful course, the retort is "I don't like what you did." This tune is followed by another mid-tempo song with more of a "rock" slant, "The Wrong We've Done." This song is actually a strong statement about the harm we've done to the environment, the catch line "Gotta Stop Making Mother Nature Cry."
The third song "Another Shade Of Blue" is a slow, melancholy tune about a lingering relationship aptly summed up by the course "can't remember to forget you." Lots or mournful violin on this cut. "Kindred Spirit," the fourth cut, features a driving rhythm section and includes nice B-3 and violin solos.
The next two tunes ("If You Don't Leave Me Alone" and "Biggsville Train") are up-tempo rockers again featuring Molly's vocals and violin. The seventh cut "It Just Is" has more of a jazz -- blues tilt, smoother than the previous cuts. The tune has interesting lyrics about September 11, and features Turk on vocals.
The CD returns to it's rock pace with "Got You Where You Want Me," another fast paced tune featuring Molly on vocals and instruments. "Don't Burn That Bridge" slows things down a bit and features some nice harmony. The tune appears to be directed to critics who seem to never have anything nice to say.....
The tenth cut (It's So Right) picks up the tempo again and features another nice B-3 solo and duet between Molly and Turk. The release concludes with a slow love song "Lover's Intuition" about the connection between lovers separated by distance.
This is a solid release, footed mostly in rock. It has interesting instrumentation, featuring the electric violin throughout, and intricate, insightful and sometimes amusing lyrics throughout. To order the CD or for more information about the band, go to http://www.mollynovahawk.com
Editor's note: The band does feature a wider variety of blues in their live show.
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Mark Halverson, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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