The major relocations in Molly Burch’s life in one way or another have involved music, starting with the Los Angeles-raised singer moving to Asheville, North Carolina, to study jazz vocal performance at the University of North Carolina.
After graduating in 2012, Burch moved to Austin, Texas, where she buckled down on her songwriting, using Sam Cooke and The Everly Brothers as guides. Dailey Toliver, a guitarist she met and dated while in Asheville, joined her in Austin about a year later. His presence is felt in more ways than one on Please Be Mine, Burch’s debut album, released Feb. 17 on the Captured Tracks label.
Medleyville.us: Having grown up in Los Angeles, did you experience much culture shock when you attended the University of North Carolina?
Molly Burch: “I don’t remember having too much culture shock. Before I moved to Asheville, I spent my freshman year at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, and I think since the campus was so isolated, it prepared me to live in a smaller town.”
Talk about how you met Dailey Toliver.
Burch: (Laughs) “I would love to. I was working at a discount grocery store in Asheville, and I was checking out my friend Mark, and Dailey was with him. I had previously heard about him because the word on the street was that he was a prodigy bass player and had just moved to town. He was really quiet, and our first interaction was short.
“We kept bumping into each other since the music scene was so small. He’d see me at parties a lot, drinking too much and kissing boys. Then I heard his music and fell madly in love with it. I listened to a song he wrote called ‘Grandfox’ over and over. I would tell him all of the time, and I felt I was scaring him. But then he asked me out on a date for pizza out of the blue. We didn’t start playing music with each other immediately since we had our own separate projects. It took us a while to get comfortable with that. I’m not sure if other couples feel that way. I think it’s a different experience making music with your partner.”
What led you to Austin and not to other music meccas in the U.S. such as Nashville, New Orleans or even Los Angeles?
Burch: “I spent a year in Asheville after graduation, and I felt this pang of wanting something new. I also wanted independence. I thought about L.A., but Austin felt like it’d be the easier move. My dad is from Dallas, so I’ve always loved Texas.
Were you really motivated by the hourly rate at the Dandysounds studio in Dripping Springs, Texas, to record the bulk of Please Be Mine in one day?
Burch: “I was working three part-time jobs [then], and it took me a while to save up money to record. [Owner Dan Duszynski’s] hourly rate is $30 an hour, I think. I don’t think his rate is high; I just knew regardless of where I recorded, I would only have a certain amount to spend. The plan was to record the basic tracks live in one day and then take one more day for overdubs. My band was all for it. We wanted to play live together, and I feel the challenge of getting it done in a day made it fun.”
OK, come clean: Was the title track influenced by one of those small, chalky Valentine’s Day candies with the words on them?
Burch: (Laughs) “No, it wasn’t — however, I do love Valentine’s Day so much. I wrote ‘Please Be Mine’ in the first couple of months living in Austin. I broke up with Dailey, moved to a place where I knew no one and then immediately started dating someone new. I was so manic at the time, and I didn’t let myself feel the breakup at all or take responsibility for what I did. The song is about how I was feeling about Dailey. I knew I had made a mistake, and I was very desperate for him to know that.”
Finish this sentence: At this year’s SXSW, I will …
Burch: “… play some shows I’m excited [about] and nap with Dailey and our cat, who we miss so much [while we’re on tour].”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Molly Burch at South by Southwest 2017 (schedule subject to change):
• Midnight March 15: Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room — 512 Trinity St. (official SXSW showcase)
• 3 p.m. March 16: The Scoot Inn — 1308 E. 4th St.
• 8:15 p.m. March 16: Barracuda Backyard — 611 E. 7th St. (official SXSW showcase)
• 4:20 p.m. March 17: Barracuda — 611 E. 7th St. (Austin Chronicle day party)
• 8 a.m. March 18: Four Seasons — 98 San Jacinto Blvd. (KUTX Live at the Four Seasons main stage)
Photo by Dailey Toliver