Molly Burch overcomes shyness with stellar songs

On Austin, Texas-based folk-rocker Molly Burch’s gorgeous new sophomore release, “First Flower,” there’s an eerie, lugubrious balance between her forlorn vocals and the spidery filigrees of her backing guitarist Dailey Toliver that feels almost familial. With good reason, she laughs: “He’s also my boyfriend. We’ve been playing together for the past four years, but I didn’t play guitar on my record at all. And now we have a natural process where I write the songs and then immediately give them to him to work on.” It’s a winning combination first evident on her 2017 debut “Please Be Mine,” a mournful recounting of a temporary breakup the couple endured, which seemed to last an eternity. “So the album was all about Dailey,” she adds, which he then had to write emotive parts for.

So you studied jazz vocal performance in college. What’s that, exactly?

Well, I grew up listening to jazz, so I always gravitated toward that genre. And I was really interested in singing, so I just really took to that style. I just loved learning how to sing those old jazz standards when I was growing up, so then for college I wanted to experience performing them, which is why I chose that major.

Were you the annoying Monty Python ‘But father, I want to sing’ kid around the house at holidays?

No. I was really shy. And my parents didn’t know I liked to sing until high school. But after awhile, I slowly started to experiment more and put myself out there with the help of my sister — she really pushed me to do this, and she was the only one who knew I liked to sing. My sister — who is older — would always write and direct plays in high school, and she would make me be in them. So I don’t think I would have done this if I didn’t have her encouragement.

So when your folks went out to the store or the movies, you’d start to croon?

Yeah, actually. Alone in my room — I was really private about it. And I just wanted to make sure I could do it. I was afraid of failing or of being judged. And I used to sing a lot in the area in back of our garage.

When did you first understand how unique your voice is?

I can’t remember. I think I was just so insecure and so shy, I always had such low self esteem. I had such an incredibly bad way of thinking about things. But singing, I have to say, definitely was the first thing that gave me some confidence in my life.

IF YOU GO
Molly Burch
Where: Cafe Du Nord, 2174 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Oct. 27
Tickets: $12 to $14
Contact: (415) 375-3370, www.eventbrite.com

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