Red Molly Feels Blue on “You Don’t Have the Heart for It”


For 10 years, the trio Red Molly have been cultivating a folk audience across the U.S. and around the world. Now they’re approaching their second decade with The Red Album, a diverse collection that dips into classic country on “You Don’t Have the Heart for It.”

Lush harmonies are a hallmark of Red Molly, comprised of bassist Laurie MacAllister, Dobro player Abbie Gardner and guitarist Molly Ventner. The band’s name comes from a tantalizing character in Richard Thompson’s story-driven song, “1952 Vincent Black Lightning,” which the trio recorded for The Red Album.

By email, Gardner tells CMT Edge she wrote “You Don’t Have the Heart for It” as part of a year-long exercise with fellow musicians.

“I was involved in a writing project called ‘Real Women Real Songs,’ where 14 women across the country committed themselves to writing and publicly sharing a song every week for a whole year,” she explains. “I’ve always been a fan of Hank Williams and that old classic country style, the melodies that go along with it and how a lonely song can feel pretty great to sing along with.”

A student of jazz and a fan of bluegrass, Gardner emphasizes that classic country has influenced the way she writes songs.

“It’s music that just feels good to sing and play,” she says. “The melodies really hook me, and classic country lyrics always seem like an old soft shoe — familiar, comforting and timeless.”

Thanks to the nimble fingers of Adam Ollendorff, the steel guitar glides through the understated arrangement.

“Ah, the pedal steel sound always feels like crying to me,” Gardner says. “I play Dobro in the band, but we needed something with more twang to it just to really bring out that lonely edge to the song. Adam did a beautiful job!”

Enjoy Red Molly’s “You Don’t Have the Heart for It.”