Influence of Dylan Is Strong; ALAN NICHOL Has the Latest on the Roots Music Scene

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Byline: ALAN NICHOL

HEARING the music of Pete Molinari may transport the listener to the US, specifically to Chatham County, North Carolina, or even the one down in Georgia.

What it most certainly will not do is conjure up an image of the Garden of England!

Nevertheless, that is precisely where he is from - Chatham, Kent.

Molinari headlines an attractive night in the intimate Cluny 2 tonight.

He draws on early-period Bob Dylan, which taps into the influence of Woody Guthrie and the rich seam of folk-blues interpreters of New York's Greenwich Village, circa 1962.

Molinari has elements of the young Dylan but there are traces of blues/jazz singer Jimmy Scott there, too, plus Hank Williams and a little Patsy Cline.

The latter may seem a bit far-fetched until you hear his voice, which is a genuinely rare instrument.

He was born into a family with Maltese, Italian and Egyptian blood but he no doubt grew up trying to decide whether he was actually a Man of Kent or a Kentish Man.

Whatever his lineage, his musical influences were all from across the Atlantic - including Billie Holiday and John Coltrane - and he was equally inspired by the travelling tales of Guthrie (Bound For Glory) and Kerouac (On the Road).

So much so that he was compelled to travel extensively in the US, ultimately spending around 18 months in the wellspring of Greenwich Village.

His debut album, 2006's Walking Off the Map (Damaged Goods Records) was given a right royal welcome by the music press.

Not bad for a record which was effectively brought to life in the kitchen of influential musician, painter and poet, Billy Childish. The record was largely Molinari and acoustic guitar (plus a little percussion).

The follow-up, A Virtual Landslide, on the same label used a full band and ventured a little beyond the earthy folk-blues of his debut.

The critics treated it the same way - with purple prose. He currently has an EP entitled Today, Tomorrow & Forever on release. Recorded in Nashville, it includes the Jordanaires (Elvis's famed vocal group).

Also on the Cluny bill is the Texas-based singer/guitarist Danny Schmidt.

UK blues/R'n'B band Dr Feelgood briefly interrupt the flow of troubadours on Saturday night with a show at the Cluny. Most people know what to expect from the Feelgoods - up-tempo good time rock/blues - and it would appear to be the ideal fit for a Saturday night.

STILL at the Cluny, Sunday night sees the arrival of another Texan, Gurf Morlix, who has steadily built his audience over here.

He is perhaps best known as producer and multiinstrumentalist for artists like Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves, Butch Hancock, Tom Russell and Warren Zevon but he has his own solo career, too, with half a dozen albums to his name. …