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#50 Brian Molnar: Brian Molnar

By Gary Wien

originally published: 01/28/2011

Before he added The Naked Hearts as his backing band, Brian Molnar performed as a solo artist.  On his self-titled debut, he shows a more folk-based style than the Americana/Alt-Country genre that his newer work with the full band possesses.  Both styles seem to suit Brian well, and it’s fascinating to look back and see how the different musical directions changed his songs.

The album kicks off with “Sante Fe,” a beautiful tune about a wandering bard off in the country.  It sets off a series of songs about travel, dreams, and the things (and people) we leave behind.  While not a true concept album, it’s like a diary of a young artist.

Hello Santa Fe, dream of dreams

I’ve come to know you again it seems

You caught me ridin’ low

Picked me up and let me go

And it’s hello Santa Fe, dream of dreams


-- “Sante Fe”

I left my dreams

In the water under the bridge

Laying on the tracks

Hoping for a sign

Can’t read nothing

But that train driver’s mind

And I pray to God  

That you’d throw me a line


-- “Throw Me A Line”

It’s a crime that virtually every singer-songwriter is compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, but I’ll do it anyway.  While Brian’s voice is nothing like Dylan’s, there are similarities with his lyrics and melodies.  On this early release he establishes himself as a truly amazing songwriter; mixing poetry with music and sparkling bits of wisdom, just as Dylan did several decades earlier.

Highlights include “Sante Fe,” “Miss You,” “Black and Blue,” “Throw Me A Line,” and “Chariots.”


From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien


Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

 






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