THE HEART AND SOUL OF AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC
Molly grew up in Washington State with a fondness for traditional fiddle music and ’30s and ’40s popular tunes. She played clubs and colleges on the West Coast and took a liking to the jazzy sound of the Swing Era.
Molly met Jay Ungar in the late 1970s when each was performing at the Towne Crier, a rural New York club. They hit it off musically and played together from time to time until Molly headed off to Minnesota to work in the house band of a new radio show: Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Meanwhile, back in New York, Jay put together a band with fellow fiddlers Evan Stover and Matt Glaser and guitarist Russ Barenberg. When Fiddle Fever, as the collaboration was called, needed a bassist, Molly signed on.
The early ’80s also saw the beginning of the Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camps, a world-renowned destination for enthusiasts of American music and dance traditions. Several years later, Molly became a full partner in designing, running, and teaching these programs. Jay and Molly married in 1991.
The duo of Jay & Molly has won international acclaim for their performance of Jay’s haunting composition Ashokan Farewell — the musical hallmark of Ken Burns’ landmark PBS documentary The Civil War. The soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.
Jay & Molly perform timeless renditions of hard-driving Appalachian melodies, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes, stirring Civil War classics, sassy songs from the golden age of swing and country, stunning waltzes, and moving original works. Wit, warmth and consummate musicianship that cheer the heart and feed the soul.
What the media says…
“Jay and Molly make music that is simple and overwhelming . . . joyful and full of feeling . . . an apotheosis of American traditional music.”
Garrison Keillor, host and creator of
“A Prairie Home Companion”
“As composers, virtuosi and folklorists, [they] light up the concert stage and are a sure-fire hit for all music loving audiences.”
David Amram, noted American composer,
folk singer and jazz musician