Growing up in Wheeling, West Virginia, and attending Catholic schools, Mollie and her four siblings were immersed in music of all sorts. They attended performances by the Wheeling Symphony, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck and Ray Charles. When the Beatles played Pittsburgh in 1964, Mrs. O’Brien put the two youngest kids, Mollie and Tim, in the car and drove them all the way to the concert in Pittsburgh — on a school night.
Meanwhile, Rich was coming of age in Philadelphia, his mother a pianist and his father an accomplished classical choral singer. There was always music in the house. A pivotal moment changed his life at the age of 12. “I saw all three early Beatles appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show on our black and white TV. That was it for me,” Rich said.
Mollie and Rich went on to become musicians. They met in Colorado, and it wasn’t very long before they wed, and would raise two daughters and launch two careers. After 30 years of music-making, mostly apart, Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore are enjoying a fresh harmonic convergence. Mollie pulls the audience in with that come-on-in voice that ranges between a call-down-thunder testifying wail to an intimate bluesy whisper, to sweet jazzy trumpet-miming scat that would do Louis Armstrong proud. Those of you who met them in Port Townsend when they were teaching at Voice Works in 2005 will remember their top-drawer musicianship and their welcoming sense of inclusion. To find out more about them, visit the Voice Works faculty page. Here’s Mollie and Rich rendering the title cut from their new CD: