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Joy Williams and Amie Miriello @ Molly Malone's

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Last night I dropped by Molly Malone's to hear a few songs from a new friend named Joy Williams who is visiting L.A. with her husband, Nate Yetton from Nashville. Joy has been around the music scene for awhile, but is only 26 and has a bright future ahead of her. She's just recorded a four-song EP which I have been spending a lot of time listening to recently.

I've been to MM before and it's a pretty mellow place. I noticed that Nick Lachey was lurking in the back with his brother whose name I've forgotten, but this night it was about the music. David Hodges from Evanescence has some sort of residency there and brings in cool artists to play with him.

The night belonged to Amie Miriello, but she was gracious enough to allow Joy to do 3-4 songs interspersed throughout her set and both artists played well, but with very contrasting styles.

It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Chariots of Fire which featured two runners who were intense competitors. Both Eric Liddel and Harold Abrahams were winners, but they got there by radically different means. Abrahams was intense and all about a regimented training schedule. He hated to lose and was determined to do whatever it took to win. Liddel on the other hand was sort of carefree about the whole thing-of course he wanted to win, but he trained in the Scottish highlands by himself, and ran wildly and with reckless and joyful abandon. And of course, when asked to run on the Sabbath he refused and jeopardized his chances of winning.

Miriello played an intense set of of original rock songs that caused me to lean into her manager and tell her that she reminded me of a young Janis Joplin, to which she brightened and told me that Amie is a huge fan of the legendary singer. This was not rock for the faint of heart, but pounding music from a young woman who seems to feel the music in her soul in a way that belies her relative youth.

Williams played Liddel to Miriello's Abrahams perfectly, walking quietly to the microphone and mesmerizing the audience with her playful innocence and charm in a way that was no less compelling than Miriello's set, but for completely different reasons. The audience was charmed by her sweet songs about love and life and each time she would finish a song, she'd walk shyly back into the audience and then a few minutes later after Miriello had played another few songs, drift back on stage and sing another.

It was an evening marked by contrasts, but it played well. It's a good bet that we'll be hearing more from these talented young ladies soon.