By KARA POUND
Husband and wife duo, Todd Jones (guitar and vocals) and Molly Jones (vocals), who play under the moniker Todd and Molly Jones, have been bringing their lyrical Americana sounds to St. Augustine for more than a decade.
The pair, partners in music and partners in life, has opened for national touring bands such as The Dustbowl Revival at the Original Café Eleven, in addition to playing local venues like Ann O’Malley’s.
Compass caught up with the singer-songwriters, who create original music together, to see what they’ve been up to. Here’s part of that conversation.
Compass: Tell me a bit about how the duo got together.
Molly Jones: Like most love stories, the tale of Todd and Molly had a soundtrack. Ours began about a decade-and-a-half ago with all night picking sessions, ocean waves, music festivals, crackling fires and road trips that covered the floorboards of Todd’s old pickup with scratched up CDs. A recipe for romance, I suppose. We were both busting into our early 20s. I had never sang, but to myself. I was a listener — keeping my place on the wall of the handful of venues in town that were hosting local musicians at the time. I found Todd playing there. He was full of music. I can’t really picture him back then without his guitar in hand. It was love at first sight, but our music together wasn’t born until after our second son years down the road. Our son died shortly after birth, and we discovered music was a way to communicate the things we needed to say to each other. We let all that was in us run out in song rather than tears.
Compass: What is it like being married to your musical partner?
M.J.: We never know when a song is going to come. They sometimes come piece by piece and sometimes will come all at once. It really depends on how strong the coffee is. Usually in the process, one of us ends up offending the other, and that can take a while to sort out when it’s mixed up with other important issues such as who is leaving the cap off the toothpaste. So I suppose that may also answer the question of what its like to be married to your musical partner. Our life has changed so drastically in the recent years with all these new little beings joining us, so naturally our music and its expression unfolds differently each song that comes through us.
Todd Jones: When I write a song, I try to come from a personal place. If I feel a little uncomfortable sharing a song, then I feel I have let a part of me in it, and perhaps others will relate. We put a lot of importance on our lyrics, and what we are trying to say. If I come to the table with a half completed song idea, Molly has a way of completing my thoughts and adding that perfect chorus or tag line. If she has written lyrics for a song, we will work together on melodies, chord progressions and harmonies until we are both happy with the outcome.
Compass: Are you full-time musicians?
T.J.: I play solo here and there, as well as collaborate with a few other talented musicians such as Colton McKenna and Mike Lagasse of the Wild Shiners to name a couple. I also work for myself as a carpenter during the day.
M.J.: We used to play out together three or four nights of the week — sharing our original music and wearing out beloved covers in a whiskey fog. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, but as our family has expanded, late nights and hard mornings don’t fit like they used to. These days, songwriting over morning coffee feels most sincere.
Compass: What does the future look like musically for Todd and Molly Jones?
M.J.: These days, we are focusing less on performing and only booking shows as a duo that value our original music. For example, the Gamble Rogers Music Festival we just played. We are paying more attention to organizing what is in us and even recording a bit when we can. We are currently working with Lu Rubino of The Fish Tank Recording Studio.