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John Molineux

Country of origin:

Born in U.S., raised in England, currently lives in Brittany (France)

Type of music generally:

Traditional and neo-traditional folk


Most recent release, Old Songs & Airs for New Smiles (compilation, 2000)

See also:

John Molineux's site


Somewhat like John Renbourn, whom he has played with, there's something like Martin Carthy, June Tabor and the acoustic side of Richard Thompson in his mournful vocals

Covers/own material:

Own and traditional material

General comments:

John Molineux is a fine musician and as well has an affecting yet unaffected voice. His takes on traditional and traditionally inspired music are simply emotive, replying on clarity and simplicity for their considerable power. I love this style of music, and John Molineux does it exceptionally well. Lovers of his colleague, John Renbourn, would do well to track John Molineux's music down. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Old Songs & Airs for New Smiles


Old Songs & Airs for New Smiles

Release info:

2000—KERIG—KCD 158


See John Molineux's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

John Molineux—Appalachian dulcimer, electric dulcimer, dulcichord, violin, flute, recorders, tin whistle, guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Dan Ar Bras—electric guitar (18)
Annie Power—vocals (5)
Jacques Denjean—piano (16)
Carlo Rizzo—percussion (15, 17)
Alain Mussefia—bassoon (13, 19)
Dominique Leroy & Didier Roussel—trumpets (13, 19)


This is a CD compilation from Molineux's first two albums, Douce-Amère and Spice of Life. Molineux's musicianship is especially fine—precise, clear, evocative—as are his vocals. The many instrumentals are both lovely and lively, and the songs mournful and gorgeous. "Rosemary Lane" gives me shivers, and I particularly like Molineux's setting of Shelley's poem "Love's Philosophy". "Sleep Down", a song with Molineux's lyrics set to a traditional Breton tune, feels beautifully authentic and especially evocative and heartbreaking. "Black Wings" is a lovely romantic tune. "Tommy's Boots", another song with Molineaux's words set to a traditional tune, is a delightful story song. Both "1745" and "Tall Tales" are strong protests against the wastage of war and end the collection on a mournful tone with a hopeful, redemptive note at the very last, the final words asserting that "Love has won the play."
     Heads up to all lovers of dulcimer music, story songs, traditional music, and neo-traditional music—this is a don't-miss collection. It's charming, evocative, and affecting. It's a shame that this is Molineux's sole recorded output to date, but though his output is small, this certainly is a body of work that rewards listening. (Neile)

Further info:

John Molineux appears on John Renbourn's albums, The Enchanted Garden and Live in America

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-12-06 18:37:07.
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