ECCC is pleased to announce a CD release concert fundraiser on Thursday, March 24, at Holy Family Senior Center, 203 Dr. Frederick Humphries Dr., Apalachicola.
Musicians Riely O’Connor and Molly B. Moon, who have put down winter roots in Apalachicola, will present songs from their new CD, Something Light As Light.
Doors open at 6:00, and concert begins at 6:30. There will be lots of finger foods, both savory and sweet and beverages on offer, and beer and wine for a donation.
All proceeds raised – the tickets, the drink donations, the CD sales – go to fund the work of ECCC of Franklin County.
Suggested ticket donation: $20, on Eventbrite or at the door.
Suggested CD donation: $15 at concert
Molly and Riley give us insight to their songs and deep connection to Apalach:
How do you come up with the ideas for songs?
Molly: I get inspired to start and finish a song when I’m writing about some strong feeling I have that I know other people have probably had as well. That urge to express romantic love, independence, reconciliation, even bewilderment, starts a song, and the knowledge that such feelings are universal gives me the courage to finish it and sing it in front of other people.
Riely: Molly’s method and mine are really quite different. My songs usually come somewhat spontaneously from a turn of phrase or an idea I’ve been thinking of. If it the concept feels worthy and “songlike” I immediately try to marry it up to a chord progression I’ve been messing with and see how they sound together. The source of the melody is a bit of a mystery to me and I don’t ask questions. I think it’s bad business to over-analyze…the muse is a quirky creature!
From this stage the real work begins. To build the structure of the song and refine the lyrics can sometimes be accomplished in hours, but usually it takes months.
How long have you been playing and writing songs individually and together?
Molly: I wrote my first song when Jimmy Carter was president! It was a parody of a Wizard of Oz song, called If I Only Had a Job. I played in a traditional Irish band at the time, so it was the only song I wrote for a long, long time – until I met Riely, in fact. The urge to write my own songs from my own life experience had been growing in me, and Riely provided an excellent example of what to do about that. He’s been very supportive, as you can hear on our new album.
Riely: I began playing guitar late in life, at age 40. Within about 5 years I wrote my first song.
Molly and I met on the music scene in South Bend, IN in 2005. Though we soon put our lives together, we held off doing music together for about 2 years. We began collaborating on songwriting soon thereafter in 2008 and released our first album in 2009.
How did you find Apalachicola?
Molly: We did an online search! We chose the Forgotten Coast for its proximity to Montgomery Alabama where Riely’s daughter and grandchildren live, and we chose Apalachicola because it’s a real community, a beautiful town, with a diversity of people and lifestyles. And there aren’t very many places in the world where you get to live near a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere – but here, we do!
Riely: Literally on Google Maps! In 2014 we decided to try to spend winters in warmer locations. I have a daughter and grandkids in Montgomery, Alabama so Florida and the Panhandle made some sense. Whenever we had travelled we always looked for “green” areas (representing state and national parks) on the travel maps because we liked to take hikes in nature. As we scanned the Florida map on Google Earth we came upon this huge green region that took up almost an entire county….Franklin County. When we zoomed in on Apalachicola we saw real streets and real businesses and what appeared to be a real community. We decided to give it a try and rented a place for January of 2015. Now we spend from mid-December to early April in our little home on the corner of Avenue M and 7th St.
Why do you keep going back to Apalach?
Molly: We keep coming back because we have a second community here, not just a second home. We’ve been welcomed by Apalachicolans and included in the town’s doings. It’s heartwarming.
Riely: We refer you to our song Apalachicola Bound. The lyrics tell the story.
The album, Something Light As Light, includes eight new recordings and two songs released as singles in recent years. As is this duo’s wont, the styles of the songs vary greatly, from rollicking rag to sweet love song to cautionary country ballad.
O’Connor: “Though the song styles vary, we worked hard to have a unifying sound to the album.” To that end the duo brought a rhythm section into the studio, Cory Miller on drums and Chris Campbell on bass. “Prior to the recording sessions we spent 5 weeks rehearsing with the rhythm section”, O’Connor said. Moon adds, “Cory and Chris were amazing. They memorized every song, and then played them with confidence and heart!” For final touches, fiddle parts were added by Sean Hoffman of Fort Wayne and electric guitar by “Uncle” John Potthast of South Bend, and Riely’s brother Kevin O’Connor sat in on acoustic guitar for one song.
The two additional songs on the album include a Merle Watson cover, Southbound released by the duo in 2020 and an original, Apalachicola Bound released in 2019. The latter is a paean to the Florida panhandle town, Apalachicola which has become O’Connor and Moon’s winter home.
Something Light As Light takes its title from a lyric in Slant Of Light, one of Molly B. Moon’s songs on the album. O’Connor is quick to mention that this album represents a blossoming that has occurred in recent years. “Molly’s beautiful songs and have come to the fore in our live performances and are audience favorites. She has also taken one of my unrealized works, rearranged it, renamed it (A Man Like Him) and created a stunning vocal for it. She even worked in a harmony vocal for me!” The duo has also been co-writing and some of those works appear on the album.