"...stunning - if not plain sexy - jazz and rock sway. Her voice melts butter across the room with microwave ease, while vaguely evoking the best of Ani DiFranco or even Fiona Apple." --Stuart Gaines, Mountain XPress
Ruby Slippers' September 23, 2005 release of their debut CD, Living Room, is the culmination of a whirlwind two years for the Asheville-based trio. Molly Kummerle, Andy John, and Robin Tolleson came together late in 2003, and within weeks of recording a demo they were entertaining offers to play in locations throughout the Southeast. They have taken their "acid lounge" sound across the area, performing at the Sistahs On Stage Festival, Localpalooza IV, Live At Pritchard Park, The Orange Peel and Stella Blue in Asheville, the Green Ball to Benefit the Asheville Arts Council, Nashville's Windows On The Cumberland, Knoxville's Preservation Pub, The Imagination Ball and The Handlebar in Greenville, and The Pour House in Charleston. They are also featured regularly on WNCW-FM and performed live in the studio for the station's "Local Colors" segment. They recorded Living Room with engineer Andy Bishop at Giraffe Studios in Hendersonville, NC, and Grammy-winning producer Steven Heller of Asheville did the mastering.
Molly Kummerle is the lead vocalist and songwriter of Ruby Slippers. She was born on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and moved to Asheville in middle school, where she played soccer and trombone. After graduating from Brevard College, Molly sang backup for the R&B band Mavis, and began writing with local musicians. She began attending the Jazz Open Mic at Tressa's nightclub in Asheville every Tuesday, working out her songs with the house band, pianist Chuck Lichtenberger, bassist Mike Alexander, and drummer Robin Tolleson. That group, with multi-instrumentalist Andy John, recorded the first Ruby Slippers demo. An emotional, raw singer in the style of Jill Scott, Joss Stone and Joan Osborne, Molly performed in the Asheville cast of the "Rocky Horror Show" last year.
Andy John is trained in jazz but grew up on Jimi and can quote Frank Zappa. Born in Albany, NY, schooled in Knoxville, TN, before moving to Memphis for five years, the guitarist (and his instrumental trio Klarcnova) fits well in the Asheville music scene because he clearly doesn't like rules. Otherwise, he wouldn't be doing what he's doing in Ruby Slippers - using a hollow-body six-string electric jazz guitar to cover lead, harmony and bass parts all at the same time. He also plays electric bass on several songs, again, covering lead, harmony and bass parts at the same time. See it to believe it, folks.
Robin Tolleson grew up in San Francisco, and was heavily influenced by the Bay area's musical melting pot of funk, rock, soul, jazz and Latin musics. He has recorded with guitarist Gregory James, Indigo Swing, Patrick O'Hearn, Big Block Dodge, and the instrumental funk trio Hipbones, which he founded in 1993. Also a respected correspondent for Modern Drummer and downbeat magazines, Robin always brings an allegiance to the song and the groove, and creative use of sounds. He also helps shade Ruby Slippers' soulful brew with supporting vocals.
"Asheville's Ruby Slippers is an infectious mix of sultry jazz, driving rock and roll, and allegiance to the groove."
"They're well-versed in the jazz language, but aren't afraid to dig deeper. The result is a charismatic live show with grace and attitude." --Laura Blackley, Songwriter & Performing Artist
Living Room was recorded by Andy Bishop at Giraffe Studios in Hendersonville, NC, and mastered by Grammy-winning engineer/producer Steven Heller of Asheville. It features eleven very engaging original songs, and a favorite cover -- a range of textures from whisper to shout, rhythms from soft waves to absolute back-line funk, all with a sultry jazz flavor.