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Molly Burch blew me away on Sunday night. I don’t know exactly what I expected—as a new artist with her first album, Please Be Mine, released just this year,  none of my friends had seen her live and performance footage is hard to find. However, after extensively listening to her stunningly-written ballads and strong vocal tracks, I was certainly intrigued.

Siting her influences as Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, and Nina Simone, Burch routinely delivers passionate, irony-filled love songs over vibrating floating guitar. Trained in jazz vocal performance at the University of North Carolina, her lilting voice is also full of an incredible amount of character for such a new artist, complimenting her descriptive songwriting well.

Her music, full of bitter-sweet goodbyes and heartbreak, thus translates beautifully on stage. Her band is relatively poker-faced, investing themselves in their sound and allowing Burch’s cool composure to lead the way. Though her performance is subtle, there’s a keen jazz-club air to the character she plays, a-la Angel Olsen or even Lana del Rey. Live, the stories she’s telling are clear, and hit home in such a way that can never be captured on tape. She’s so open that it catches you off guard, and the unsuspecting audience fell silent and focused in as she opened herself up throughout her set.

Further, the show’s arc was clear, climaxing around a moment set with dimmed lights and a center-stage spotlight as she turned her back in between verses of one of her heartfelt ballads. Her live show matches her performance on record as one that is incredibly raw and dramatic, leaving the audience waiting on her every word. Overall, in an indie-folk scene filled with all too many distant performances, seeing Molly Burch live is a breath of fresh air. I’m excited to see where she goes from here.

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