Roots N Blues is back this year with an all-female lineup. Check out Vox's Vibe Check matrix for music recommendations at this year's festival, including performers Molly Healey and Flor de Toloache. With an orchestra in her back pocket, Molly Healey's String Project backing band will bring both intimate vocal performances and a looping wall of sound. The all-female ensemble Flor de Toloache will bring mariachi music to Roots N Blues for the first time.
Multi-instrumentalist Molly Healey has released three albums in five years of orchestral looping. She started her musical career with bluegrass group Back into the Left, picking up the violin again for the first time since high school.
“I would sing, and I would play fiddle, and that was the extent of what I did,” Healey says.
Sixteen years later, the Springfield, Missouri, artist discovered her inspiration: looping, or recording clips of an instrument on the fly and layering them to create a unique live performance.
Looping opened up a new dimension in Healey’s music. She started in 2015 with just a loop station, with which she wrote her first LP, Nightbirds.
“I had written maybe two songs in my entire life before that,” Healey says. “Once I got the loop station, I had an album’s worth of material.”
Now, Healey and her band, the Molly Healey String Project, use effects to their fullest extent. She can loop and slow her cello to create a dreamy atmosphere, weave in her violin to complement guitarist Zach Harrison’s rockin’ solos and be a one-woman string section.
“When we all drop out and leave this 10-piece orchestra playing all the string parts, everyone’s like, ‘Whaaat!’” Harrison says.
The band will feature its full orchestral sound with mostly original material, a few covers and a guest appearance from Healey’s daughter, Annabelle Moore.
“It’s going to be unlike anything that you hear on a normal basis,” Healey says.
The band performs on Sept. 25 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on the MU Health Care Stage.