‘AN EARLY CONTENDER FOR ONE OF 2008’S LANDMARK ALBUMS’ MOJO FEB 2008
‘TOTALLY AMAZING’ NME March 2008
’Molinari’s voice and haunting melodies left me feeling that the musical void in the British music scene will most definitely be filled. He can follow in the footsteps of Dylan and Guthrie’ – NME
“A singular talent….his distinctive voice and guitar establish him as a Medway Hank Williams. Worth investigating.” – UNCUT
’The soul of American music distilled into the voice of a Cuban-heeled greaser from the Medway Delta’ – THE GUARDIAN
‘An extraordinary new British talent…4.5/5’ – THE SUN
‘A spellbinding, wondrous voice….an amazing album’ – STOOL PIGEON
‘Young, finger-picking, country-blues marvel Molinari has a thrillingly ambiguous voice…’Virtual Landslide’ is an actual triumph’ – TIME OUT
‘A superbly realised piece of folk blues heartache’ – MOJO
‘Sweet-voiced blues-folk…a cherishable artefact even before you fall under the spell of the actual music’ – NME
PETE MOLINARI is a young country blues genius from the Medway Delta. He has just finished recording his second album with producer Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios, and it showcases Pete’s remarkable falsetto: you’ll hear shades of Woody Guthrie, Jimmy Scott, Bob Dylan and Patsy Cline in a voice and a poetry that is entirely Molinari’s own. The first fruits of these sessions were released on acclaimed double A-side single ‘Virtual Landslide’ / ‘There She Still Remains’ on the Big Bertha label, which led to stacks of coverage in The Guardian, NME, The Sun, Time Out, The Observer etc , a set at Glastonbury Festival, the honour of closing the Spitz Festival Of Country and several support shows with James Hunter by special request. At the last of these, secured new celeb fans – Lisa Stansfield and Gem & Andy Bell from Oasis.
PETE MOLINARI was born into a large Maltese/ Italian/ Egyptian family in Chatham, Kent, where he was discovered by Billy Childish. Molinari had an odd childhood. While his friends were listening to Nirvana and Oasis he developed a deep infatuation with the Billie Holliday, John Coltrane, Leadbelly and Bob Dylan records of his much older brothers.’ We had a sideboard unit with a record player’, he remembers. ‘I would sit and stare at these records going round while my brothers were out playing football’. Discovering himself to be lacking in the academic and athletic departments, Pete devoted his life to art. ‘My parents came to this country to work and found my decision hard to accept. And I’ve had hundreds of jobs, from working in a factory to digging potatoes, that have only lasted two or three days because I’m only ever thinking about songs.’
With a head full of songs and his trusty guitar he went out to New York for a month, which turned into two years travelling round the USA. There he honed his unique vocal style playing the bars and cafes of New York’s Greenwich Village like the Bitter End, the Gaslight, Cafe Wha?, Café Del Artista – places where Jack Kerouac and his beat poets read and also the likes of Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Dylan all played. On his travels, Pete got to play with some of the best players that were part of Dylan/ Phil Ochs scene like Justin Devereaux and Eric Fransen who was later invited by Dylan to join his Rolling Thunder Revue. Pete says: “They thought it was real strange that a kid of my age from England could play this kind of music in a more authentic way than any of the Americans they normally see in the Village.” Pete built up a cult following and also won fans like actor/ musician Vincent Gallo and legendary photographer Louis Stettner, who filmed him.
As Pete says: “I’ve traveled a long road to get here. These songs have been on that road. From playing little places in Chatham and London to the late night coffee houses of Greenwich Village, Memphis, New Orleans, San Francisco, LA and Paris. I seem to be drawn to these places. There’s something more real about them. More close to the earth.”
When he returned to Chatham the painter/ poet/musician Billy Childish suggested recording an album. ‘We made it in a day in Billy’s kitchen. He got out an old Revox tape machine and recorded it live. That way we got a bit of that old spirit that I love so much about those old records. The ones that were thrown to one side in my house as a child…Hank Williams, Johnny Cash…I can only thank God that they were.” I was used to people showing interest and doing nothing, but Billy just got on with it. He’s a huge inspiration.’ ‘Walking Off The Map’ stands as one of those rare warm and intimate records where you feel the singer is there performing in front of you.
Now bolstered by the stereo production quality of the legendary Toe Rag Studios and, on many of the songs, a full band, Pete is ready with sizzling album. It features: the majestic ‘Sweet Louise’ and the heartbreaking ‘Oh So Lonesome For You’ both guided by the spirit of Roy Orbison; ‘There She Still Remains’ a melancholy country-soul beauty complete with slide guitar from by BJ Cole that’s reminiscent of 60′s Nashville at its finest – think Arthur Alexander; the blues howl of ‘Virtual Landslide’ which filters the weight of history through Molinari’s knock-out voice; the rockin’ country of ‘I Came Out Of The Wilderness’ and ‘Goddamn Lonesome Blues’; the rollin’ freight train rhythms of ‘Adelaine’; the beautiful and wistful ‘One Stolen Moment’; the plaintive ‘Look What I Made Out Of My Head Ma’; the straight-up honesty of ‘I Don’t Like The Man That I Am’; the Spanish-tinged ‘Dear Angelina’; and ‘Lest We Forget’ – a traditional lament to those lost in World War I.
It is refreshing to come across such a pure and unique artist as PETE MOLINARI.