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Ear to the Ground: Pete Molinari’s “Hang My Head in Shame”

One listen will show why Molinari’s influences—Ray Davies, Springsteen, and Dylan—are already championing his music.

For a guy who claims to be inspired by the ’60s folk recordings of Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie, Pete Molinari sings a lot like a young John Lennon. But maybe it’s just an English thing—the young UK troubadour hails from Kent. Regardless, there's definitely an audible blues influence on his fourth studio album, Theosophy. So it only makes sense that he employed some help from like-minded musicians such as the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and Little Barrie's Barrie Cadogan.

“Hang My Head in Shame,” the first song from his new album, follows in the tradition of British dudes enamored with old American blues songs: There’s that catchy, Delta-born riff and some golden-toned guitar leads—listen closely, and it sounds like an old semi-hollowbody plugged into an older tube amp with the volume dimed. Even the piano and Hammond B-3 parts sound like they’re teleported from the early ’60s.

You might compare it to the Strypes, but Molinari’s music doesn’t hinge on mod trappings. Even so, he’s already getting praise from Kinks deity Ray Davies. He’s also getting props from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. Can you imagine what it must be like to have one of your biggest influences digging your stuff?