Molly Parden

By:  Jody Lynn Jackson

Georgia Peach, Molly Parden, took the stage just before Peter Bradley Adams at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC.  The Greenwich Village venue features round tables covered with white linen, seating a few hundred people.  In this intimate setting, guests are afforded the comfort of food and drink with table service. The venue also has a culture of a listening room, which makes every seat in the house a great choice to hear the performer.

As guests slowly sipped wine and cocktails, nostalgic melodies wafted in the room as Parden performed her latest single, "Who Did you Leave For Me." The single is a heartbreak ballad which features dreamy electric guitars, and string segments that carry the hook. The song stories a serial dater who can’t  keep his love interests, which gives way to a bout of confusion and disillusionment for the writer.

“What is today / What is My name? / Where has all the time gone?  

Just yesterday I could proudly say that I / Knew right where I belong”

Parden, a Nashville based singer songwriter, engaged the crowd between songs by sharing about an exchange with her Uber driver asking if she lived in Brooklyn. She was joyful at the thought of someone mistaking her for a New Yorker. It was telling to see such a easy smile on the same mouth that so readily sings melancholy tunes. This dichotomy of demeanor gives greater insight to the writer behind the songs, where beauty and pain, hope and sadness, seem to be held in tension.

Parden has been penning songs for nearly ten years, showcasing her delicate vocals and pure sound. Vocal qualities like these also make for an incredible supporting singer, so it’s easy to understand why her name is listed in the album credits or more than fifty different albums for contributing vocals. Perhaps that’s also why she has been such an obvious touring choice for Peter Bradley Adams over the last few years.

We were able to catch up with Molly for an interview before the show.

You recently finished up a tour with David Ramirez, what was your favorite part?

My favorite part was singing “Time” with David. Halfway through our 52-show run, I started a joke with Simon Page, his steel player, asking him “is it time?” before I hopped on stage to take my place behind the microphone. My second favorite part was making coffee (nearly) every morning in my hotel room.

Who were your influences growing up, and how do you think they've shaped your sound today? How long have you been writing songs?

CCM artists influenced me as I was a kid. When I was in my late teens I started listening to Coldplay, Radiohead, Björk and Feist. I can’t exactly say how they shaped my sound, I just know that I want to sound like them in small ways, always. I started writing songs in 2009.

Can you share a bit about your writing process?

One process starts with a melody looping around my brain that I repeat and repeat until I memorize it. Usually I come up with it when I’m driving or waiting tables, so I can’t play chords to it immediately. When I get to a guitar, I try to lay unassuming or unconventional chords underneath the melody. Then I make a voice memo of myself mumbling slightly English words to the tune I created. I loop the memo and start to write similar-sounding but understandable words. Sometimes it’s a story, sometimes it’s a string of words that just mean nothing at the time.

What does your Amazon Prime recent orders list say about you?

Dish drain rack, selfie stick, Edison light bulbs, cell phone holder for car... I want something clean to hold my clean dishes, I got the selfie stick for a friend that makes a lot of IG videos with the front-facing camera on his phone, I'm trying to make my home feel cozier with cool light bulbs, my cell phone doesn’t belong in my car.

In October, I discovered your EP, With Me in The Summer, and I think the songs really work for the nostalgic feeling fall often gives. What inspired these songs for you?

Letting go of a toxic person, struggling to accept that people struggle with depression, feeling disappointed that a relationship never blossomed, and then I needed another song to add to the EP, so I asked if I could use my friend Joseph’s song ("Still Miss the Way").

Sail on the Water has a killer melodic hook and still carries that nostalgic feel of your other tunes. How do you describe your sound?

Thank you! I say that I’m a little bit country, a little bit pop, write a lot about being heartbroken and I have a quiet voice. I usually ask someone else to describe me because I don’t like what I come up with.

Because of your two new singles, I'm guessing there's a new album in the works?

There is, it will have 10 songs and it is still in the studio. Lap steel was just tracked yesterday for a new rendition of “Weather”, which will be included on the album.

Whose names are on the marquee of your dream tour?

Flight of the Conchords, Feist, Blake Mills, Good Buddy, The War on Drugs, Beyoncé (but performing solo, and I’d like to share a hotel room with her, she seems so sweet in interviews), Sons of Bill (I’m in love with the lead singer), and Faye Webster.

What song (or album) is stuck in your head this week?

Sarah Mclaughlin “When She Loved Me”  

I know you love speciality coffee. Do you have a favorite roaster? One of my favorite things while traveling is trying pour overs in different cities. Any stand out pour overs while on the road?

Crema in Nashville is my favorite, I’ve tried a lot of their beans (mostly African). At a lot of shops, I’ve tried only one coffee because I’ve only been there once, so I can’t truly vouch for their whole roasting roster.
However, here are my favorite shops from tour:  
Huckleberry in Denver
Quay in Kansas City, MO
Coava in Portland, OR
Archetype in Omaha
Summit in Asheville
Seeds in Birmingham
Boxcar Social in Toronto
Budin in Greenpoint (BKNY)
Public Espresso in Buffalo, NY
Blueprint in STL
Sightglass in San Fran
Spyhouse in Minneapolis
Lineage in Orlando
Bold Bean in Jacksonville
Chrome Yellow in Atlanta

Connect with Molly Parden:
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