A British singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Pete Molinari draws on the ghosts of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Phil Ochs and the spirit of the great folk revival of the 1960s for his inspiration, and by looking to and drawing on this musical past, he manages to channel it into a fresh and still reverent contemporary sound.
Born into a large Maltese/Italian/Egyptian family in Chatham, Kent, Molinari fell early under the spell of his older brothers' record collections, and grew up fascinated by the music of John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Scott, Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Billie Holiday, and others from a bygone era. After reading Guthrie's Bound for Glory and Jack Kerouac's On the Road, he was inspired to set off for New York City and spent a couple of years playing and honing his performing skills in the legendary folk and blues clubs there, also finding time to visit Memphis, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Los Angeles before returning to Chatham, where he recorded his debut album, 2006's Walking Off the Map, on an old Revox tape machine in his friend Billy Childish's kitchen. For the follow-up, 2008's A Virtual Landslide, Molinari worked with producer Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios, and the album included some tracks with a full band and a throwback sound that was still somehow fresh and contemporary even as it suggested echoes from another time. Molinari built more momentum on 2010's A Train Bound for Glory, a record that underscored his folk roots and earned several accolades in the U.K., including a nomination for Best Newcomer at that year's Mojo Awards. He continued to make friends in high places -- he sang with Yoko Ono at the 2013 Meltdown Festival and earned praise from Bruce Springsteen and Ray Davies -- and some of those musicians surfaced on 2014's Theosophy: Andrew Weatherall, the legendary DJ, contributed, as did Black KeyDan Auerbach, along with producers Tchad Blake and Liam Watson. Theosophy appeared in the summer of 2014. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi