Molly Thomas And The Rare Birds have always been authentic but Thomas and her
band have raised the bar on honesty and vulnerability for their new album, “Honey’s
Fury”. The southern Alabama foursome amplifies Thomas’ recurring theme of our
humanness, connection, and the personal transformation of our chaos and confusion
into a raging river of sweet honey. During the four years of creativity that yielded
“Honey’s Fury,” Thomas & band have seamlessly woven 12 songs of love, betrayal, destruction,
forgiveness, reflection, and healing into a powerfully inspirational album. Thomas
effortlessly transforms the depth, range, and complexity of her existence into
enlightening learning experiences that are touching and inspirational to her listeners. A
notable example is Thank You, the album’s centerpiece, where Thomas takes us on the
wave of emotions surrounding her recent divorce, marital infidelity, and ultimately her
path to forgiveness and healing. Her transformative and empathetic touch is most
evident here, as the song’s working title, before it became “Thank You”, was “Fuck You”.
Molly Thomas has always been a child of the water and metaphors of flow, movement,
tidal change and bodily connection frequently surface in her lyrics. Born in Ocean
Springs, Mississippi, Thomas has made made her home in and cultivated the majority of
her musical influences from the southern regions of Alabama, Mississippi, and
Tennessee. A hive for songwriters and artists whose emotive storytelling and beautifully
gritty swampy swagger personify the region, The south has been the perfect location for
Thomas to grow her self-described Indie Swamp Pop.
As a side-person Thomas has recorded and toured internationally, including late night
performances on David Letterman and Jay Leno’s Tonight Show with folk icon Todd
Snider. Her violin, string arrangements and vocals have been featured on recordings
and live performances with Matthew Ryan and Will Hoge amongst others, and her
reputation as a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and collaborator speaks for itself.
Throughout her career, Thomas has released three critically acclaimed records as a
solo artist and her music has appeared in films.
Thomas’ current album “Honey’s Fury” is her first with her touring band The Rare Birds and it is a collaborative effort that first took flight with her creative partner and co-
producer Rick Hirsch. Guitarist Hirsch, who's roots are firmly embedded in the Georgia and Alabama music communities, is also is a child of the Gulf. Hirsch’s career took off
as a founding member of the chart topping southern rock band Wet Willie in the early
70s. In the mid-70s Hirsch recorded and toured with Gregg Allman and Cher on the
“Allman And Woman” album, at which time Hirsch relocated to Los Angeles, where he
wrote, recorded and performed with many legendary artists and music industry pioneers
including Randy Newman, Glynn Johns, Russ Titleman, Tom Dowd, Billy Vera, Fatboy
Slim and Joan Armatrading. In addition to many film and television credits Hirsch has had his songs recorded by Alabama, Tina Turner, Cher, and co-wrote Papa Come Quick
(Jody and Chico) for Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy nominated “Luck Of The Draw” album.
Like waterways that meander through the land eventually meeting in the Gulf, Rick
Hirsch and Molly Thomas were meant to meet, and on many occasions, Hirsch’s name
was brought to Thomas’ attention as a potential collaborator. He had recently returned
home from Los Angeles, and right across the bay from Thomas, to Mobile, Alabama to
build a recording studio and to develop young artists. Although they had been traveling
in the same circles for 10 years they had yet to meet when their paths serendipitously
crossed as Hirsch ended up stepping in as a last minute replacement for Thomas’ guitar
player at a show in Mississippi. Immediately attracted to Thomas’s voice, songwriting
and “all-around artistic soul”, the two artists began a creative partnership in 2015. Their
allegiance and attraction to the Gulf cemented a creative bond and the two started to
develop a sound that echoed the south. “It’s big, swampy and round, with each
musician playing an integral role in bringing the songs to life”.
One recurring theme in Thomas’ songs is connection, whether it be personal or one’s
relationship to the ever changing physical and emotional environment. The Rare Birds
are also intertwined musically and personally. Drummer John Milham first met Thomas
when she relocated to Mobile to join his current band Slow Moses.
In the 20 years since the move the two have revolved through each other’s lives, for a
short time in Slow Moses, as brother and sister-in-law during Thomas’ marriage and
eventual divorce from Milham’s brother, and finally with the first incarnation of The Rare
Birds in 2014. Besides being part of the rhythmic tide behind The Rare Birds, John is
the band’s “peacekeeper” and glue, keeping the band’s groove and spirit on course. It
was also Milham who introduced bassist John Keuler to Thomas and later brought him
into the band. Another local musician, bassist Keuler holds down the bottom end of The
Rare Birds and contributes beautiful vocal harmonies behind Thomas. Keuler’s melodic
bass lines and harmonic contributions are an integral part of the band’s lush sound
which they have been sharpening on the road for the last four years.
Enter Grammy award winning engineer Trina Schumacher, best known for her work with
Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Sheryl Crow, The Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler and The
Dixie Chicks. Schumacher was working at Dauphin Studios in Mobile, where Honey’s
Fury was recorded. She had heard the recordings and, after a chance encounter and
discussion with Thomas at the supermarket, was enlisted to mix the record. Thomas
wanted a lush, rolling, swampy sound, which was similar to Schumacher’s signature
sound. In yet another serendipitous moment, Schumacher was added to Thomas’s
team, mixing 11 of the 12 tracks on Honey’s Fury.
Molly Thomas is an accomplished career artist with a strong point of view fronting a
dynamic and experienced band of musical collaborators. Molly Thomas And The Rare
Birds have a dedicated work ethic confirming their honesty and authenticity in every
song, and have been hailed by both critics and their contemporaries as an integral and
“unfiltered voice” representing the sound of the southern United States.
"ive always prefered to listen to molly's records more than anybody else's in our little nervous wreck family.
they just have this witchy mysterious vibe to them that sounds so great when im cooking outside.
and with this batch of songs i really think molly has taken her art even further and opened her heart even wider.
you know its not easy to be a woman in this town or my band.
male songwriters think we know everything, i remember a particular night backstage listening to a male songwriter
giving molly a bunch of advice he probably shouldve been asking her for.....
she listened politely of course , and then she went out and let her music do the talking.
the guy had to follow her and it wasnt pretty.
with this album i feel like once again molly is proving that she lets her music do the talking.
good luck following this one fellas." ~ Todd Snider
“Molly Thomas is unfiltered ‘south.’ She is the feel and the sound of the southern United States. In an America where food chains,
homogenized broadcasting and department stores oppress the uniqueness of any time and place, Molly manages to sound untouched
and singular in her expression. She's vulnerable and stubborn while she honors the themes of loneliness, literature and that ethereal
humidity that comes with the southern perspective.” ~ Matthew Ryan
~ Jewly hight - The Nashville Scene Critics Picks
"...As a writer, Thomas isn’t about dressing her messages up; she’s about carving down to the essence of the matter at hand...
...Thomas seems to approach writing more like a poet than a songwriter, and when she’s used enough words to get the point across, she’s done..." read more
~ Lawrence Specker - The Mobile Register
..."has carved her niche in the hyper-competitive Nashville, Tenn., music scene through talent, hard work and sheer determination..." read more
~ David Tisdale - The Hattiesburg American
Michael Mee - The Hawick News/UKnetrhythms.com
Bill Whiting - Honest Tune Magazine