With a voice as clear and true as the morning sky after a spring rain, Molly Bryant takes us to that special place most of us jaded cynics have squashed and pummeled into submission. The beauty and gift of Molly and her music is that she still lives there, jumps in, laughs out loud and rolls around in it with an unapologetic innocence. Her songs spring from that place, honest, heartfelt and unfettered. If Liz Phair, Emmylou Harris and Suzanne Vega had a love child with a wicked sense of humor, she’d probably sound just like Molly Bryant. It feels like she sings for the sheer joy it brings her, and as a result, us.
Born and raised in suburban Chicago, Bryant moved to So Cal to attend UCLA’s Theater Arts program. After graduation she became a member of the highly respected Actors’ Gang theater group, where for seven years she worked, played and performed with a who’s who of talented young actors in several critically touted productions. While she always enjoyed singing, Molly didn’t start writing songs until 2000, when she picked up an old acoustic guitar she’d purchased for $15 at a flea market and began strumming. And singing. And songwriting.
Molly began captivating her audiences immediately, and in the short amount of time since she first performed live, she has earned the praises of fans and the respect of her songwriting peers. Fresh and fun, real and true, seeing and listening to Molly Bryant live will make a true believer out of you.
Molly released her magical, awe-inspiring debut CD, Take It Easy, in 2003 to rave reviews from celebrity fans like Liz Phair, Jack Black and Tim Robbins and established music critics alike. Filled with an uncommon musical, lyrical and emotional purity, her songs unlock a bridge to a place in the heart so easily lost as our lives become more complicated. Rob Kendt, former editor of Backstage West, wrote:
“Hilarious, poignant, rude and tender. Molly has always been both funny and true as a performer, but this record’s rich sound, and her dead-on vocal phrasing, took me by pleasant surprise. You almost think you’re hearing another talented female singer/songwriter, in the Liz Phair/Aimee Mann vein, which you are, but you’re also hearing a comic genius whose put-ons are as heartfelt as they are comical. Somehow Molly manages to be both sincere and ironic, to convey both childlike innocence and biting sarcasm, all at once. She’s like the baby who has the sense to laugh rather than cry when she craps her diaper.”
In addition to her musical prowess, Molly is also an accomplished and successful working actress, with numerous film, television, stage and commercial credits to her name. Her film credits include Jake Kasdan’s The TV Set, Simon West’s When A Stranger Calls, The Pic of Destiny – The Tenacious D Movie, Wayne Dyer’s new film/DVD project From Ambition to Meaning opposite Portia DeRossi, directed by Michael Goorjian, and Other People’s Parties, an independent film she also produced and co-wrote. Molly has appeared on the television shows Weeds, The Office, Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, to name a few. During her time in Tim Robbins’ Actors’ Gang Theater Company, she starred in such productions as Exit The King opposite John C. Reilly, and was nominated for an L.A. Ovation Award as Best Actress for her work in the critically acclaimed, original hit musical Hysteria! Molly was nominated again for Best Actress for her tour de force one-woman show about a Barbie Doll’s existential crisis, Plastica Fantastica. She began her stage career with the original theater/poetry piece about Bertolt Brecht called Bert Sees The Light, developed by Jack Black, Michael Rivkin and director R.A. White.
On BE BRAVE, her new CD brilliantly produced, mixed and arranged by John Spiker, Molly bares her heart and soul, and she’s brave enough to let it out, sometimes tentatively, other times with fierce abandon, a force to be reckoned with, but always with a little wink and smile.
Chock full of brilliant guest stars like producer-extraordinaire John Spiker (Filter, Tenacious D, Trainwreck, Jonas Brothers, Steve Earle, Dust Brothers), who also contributed some bass, percussion, guitar, keys, melodica, lap steel, kazoo, harmonizing vocals and let’s see, kitchen sink, to his producing, mixing and arranging duties, Kyle Gass (Tenacious D, Trainwreck) tearing it up on recorder and flute, Mark Stepro (Madison Square Gardeners) wailing on drums, John Konesky (Tenacious D, Trainwreck) and Andrew DeRoberts (Kris Allen, OneRepublic, Dave Brubeck) shredding the electric guitar, it’s Molly Bryant’s tasty lyrics and the purity of her vocals that keep you coming back for more. Listening to the tracks on BE BRAVE is like spending an afternoon catching up with an old friend. You find yourself listening, laughing, feeling, thinking, and wrapping yourself in the pure joy of it. You simply don’t want to it to end.
JOHN SPIKER (Producer, Kitchen Sink)
“Maestro,” as Molly likes to call him, was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from Upper Arlington HS in 1999. He got his start in music playing the piano and drums at a very young age and added bass guitar to his repertoire at age 15. In spring of 2008, John joined the band Filter, with whom he’s toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. John recently played bass on Steve Earle’s Washington Square Serenade, which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 2007. He has also played and toured with the bands Tenacious D, Trainwreck, Kidneys and Professional Assassins and just recently wrapped up work on an upcoming Filter album, several Jonas Brothers tracks, Steve Earle’s Townes and soundtracks for the films The Runaways, 2012 and Stepfather.
KYLE GASS (Recorder, Flute)
Also known as KG or Kage, and “a musical genius” by Molly, was born in Castro Valley, California. Much like his musical career, Gass’s acting career also started at a young age, but he was not, as has been widely reported, the youngest graduate of Julliard. That was a joke that he told on the Late Night With Conan O’Brien show that went way out of control. What IS true, is that Kyle’s first gig was for a 7-Up ad when he was a child. After graduating Las Lomas HS, he attended UCLA’s Theater Program, where he met actor Tim Robbins, who recruited him into his fledgling theater company, The Actors’ Gang. Soon after Kyle graduated from UCLA he was introduced to a new Actors’ Gang recruit, Jack Black. Kyle didn’t like Jack at first, but they eventually settled their differences and became best friends. Kyle taught Jack how to play guitar, and the duo eventually formed Tenacious D, with Kyle on lead guitar and backing vocals, as well as comic foil to Black in their films, CD’s and videos. Kyle then developed his own band, Trainwreck, with whom he continues to play and tour.
JOHN KONESKY (Electric Guitar)
John’s an American guitarist who’s best known for playing electric guitar with the band Tenacious D, as well as touring with them throughout North America, Europe and Australia. He also plays electric guitar in Kyle Gass’s Trainwreck under the alias John Bartholomew Shredmen. John makes a cameo in the 2006 film Tenacious D: The Pic of Destiny, and co-wrote the song “The Metal,” featured in Guitar Hero III. John’s been playing the guitar since way back in middle school, and he graduated from Hilliard Davidson HS in Hilliard, Ohio. Home of the Wildcats.
MARK STEPRO (Drums)
Mark is a 28 year-old musician living in the Silverlake District of Los Angeles with his fiancé and dog. He plays drums in Ben Kweller’s band and plays bass in the Brooklyn-based band The Madison Square Gardeners. He has played venues such as Radio City Music Hall, The Late Show With David Letterman, and The Sydney Opera House. A native of Ohio, he has also played a ton of places with names like “Shooterz,” “Buck’s Roadhouse,” and “Slippery When Wet.” So there’s that, too.
STACY BURCHAM (Trumpet)
Stacy’s an award winning trumpeter, vocalist, producer and arranger. She’s a graduate of USC and one of the founding members of the SoCal VoCals. Her arrangements, commissioned from all over the United States, are featured on several vocal albums and have won awards in several international competitions. Currently, Stacy’s a teacher and much sought-after vocal arranger and soloist. Her arrangement of the National Anthem was recently featured at both Clippers and Lakers home games, and the 2008 Democratic National Debate. She regularly sings in productions at the Hollywood Bowl and is a working studio trumpet player and vocalist.
ANDREW DeROBERTS (Electric Guitar)
Andrew is a musician from Columbus, Ohio, who plays guitar, steel guitar, mandolin and banjo. In addition to playing on Molly’s records, he has worked with many artists including Kris Allen, The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, OneRepublic and Dave Brubeck.
JASON KEENE (Harmonica)
Jason has been playing bass guitar and chromatic harmonica for most of his life. An avid collector of music and films, he has over 10,000 LP’s and nearly 3,000 films to his collection. He has also been a professional photographer for over 20 years. Jason is thrilled to be a part of Molly Bryant’s newest album, and can’t wait to add BE BRAVE to his “heavy rotation” list!
CHRISTOPHER McCARTHY (Cello)
Chris has performed with a long list of ensembles, bands and orchestras across So Cal. In the Danny Maika Trio, he switches between electric cello, electric bass and upright bass. He’s an active songwriter and performer on cello in his current band, The Lyrics Game, recently featured in OC Weekly and completed recording their EP, "Home Edition", which can be heard on cdbaby.com and iTunes. Chris is currently attending The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach full time, completing his BM in Music Education.
MIKE HOY (Trombone)
Michael began his music career while in the womb, kicking to the beat of the 1979 Earth Wind and Fire Tour.... In 5th grade, although he really wanted to be a sunglass wearing saxophone player, he couldn't get a sound out of it, so he picked up a trombone and got hooked. He went on to win a music scholarship at the Western Illinois Jazz Festival, and continued playing jazz at USC before picking up the guitar. Michael has and continues to record & perform with local artists when he is not working his full time job in the entertainment biz.