Sunday, November 21, 2010

Molly Venter: Love Me Like You Mean It

When listening to Molly Venter's "Love Me Like You Mean It," one is taken by the passion of a woman who is clearly "all in." Whether it is in loving, self-evaluation or simply life's dance, Molly Venter conveys her pursuit of life with unquenchable fire. Wear gloves when handling "Love Me Like You Mean It," because it is hot to the touch.

I came across Molly Venter in her new role as the third member of the Appalachia/Bluegrass trio Red Molly, who I have followed from their inception. Rather than discussing Ms. Venter's fit (perfect) within the trio, I will save those words for their hopefully next CD release.

Molly Venter's alluringly, sensual voice grips the listener immediately and never lets go. Have no fear; you will want nothing but to stick around.

Venter opens with "Shaky Ground," an introspective springboard to what is to come. Venter is clearly giving thought to who she is and might become. We can all relate, but few dig so deep and honestly as "I've been stepping on landmines and running straight into things. Now I am broken down, I am broken up, and there's no one to save me."

But maybe there is.

In "Happier Now," Ms. Venter's self-effacement - "My lips are thing/My legs are not so thin" - serves as a path to acceptance of self. I will save myself by being who I am ... and that is all right.

Molly Venter cuts straight to the heart often here. On "Love Me Like You Mean It" she is "not holding back" with her love and expects the same in return. This longing is further reflected in the impassioned desire of "Playing For Keeps." Venter always does.

And Ms. Venter is willing to laugh at her love tribulations, too. In "Tonight," she is tripping over herself, defensive and unsure. While she sings, "You like giving me hell just to see me react," one thing is guaranteed - react, she will. Could someone with such fire not do so?

In "Good Mother" and "Playing For Keeps," Venter puts forth need, fragility and longing. She is a mixture of strengthened confidence and scarred and struggling traveler. As she says on "Real Anymore," "I am this body, but I'm not. I am a walking paradox."

Yes, Molly, perhaps you are. But when Molly Venter sings and speaks to us, we are grateful for each contradiction. "Love Me Like You Mean It" is something to be thankful for, too. A great collection of songs will take you down a path of emotional passion few artists can match.

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