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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Friday — March 19, 2004

Weekend Living

On her way

Molly Venter performs, hits the road

Express Staff Writer

Molly Venter’s deep, soulful voice seems larger than her small frame could possibly produce. See her perform, though, and one learns that her stage presence magnifies her, steals any show and demands attention.

Molly Venter Express photo by Willy Cook

Venter plays the Roosevelt Tavern in Ketchum, Wednesday, March 24. It may be her last show before she departs for Austin, Texas, and a hopeful music career.

Venter, 23, moved to Ketchum in the fall of 2002, a few months after graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts.

"I came to ski, basically. But I had always dreamed of living in the West," she said.

At the time, her love for music was a known, yet untapped quantity. "I was a political science major," she laughed. Venter had played informal open mic nights and some arranged gigs in Berkeley, Calif., New York City, and at her alma mater. But a career in music never seemed imminent.

"New York was a good experience, but just too much. I had to get out," the New Haven, Conn., native said of her brief urban stint. A three-sport athlete in college, Venter came to Sun Valley, as so many do, for the outdoor lifestyle.

Soon after moving, she started working at The Pioneer restaurant and Bigwood Bread, both in Ketchum. Playing music, much less pursuing it as a career, seemed a distant possibility.

In steps Amos Galpin. The owner of Ketchum-based Empty Beach Records, Galpin saw talent in Venter. He invited her to use his studio, introduced her to Idaho guitarist Ned Evett and other Empty Beach musicians. Within six months a CD was born.

During that time, Venter began to play more and more. Afternoon shows at Redfish Lodge and the Idaho Rocky Mountain Guest Ranch were followed by nights at Stanley’s Rod & Gun Saloon and the occasional late night impromptu concert. "I play for friends when they make me," a modest Venter said.

With a husky voice reminiscent of female vocalist Fiona Apple, Venter plays acoustic guitar with a quiet confidence. Her voice and lyrics combine for one overriding quality: honesty.

Honesty not only in her songwriting, but also in the overall picture that emerges. Watch Venter play and witness an honest pursuit of a dream.

"I want to perform as much as I can and hopefully support myself solely on playing music, selling my CD and touring."

Venter is the real thing attempting the real thing. With an uncertain future in an uncertain field, she envisions life on the road, not as some romantic holiday, but as the hard truth it often is. "I want to know what that lifestyle is like," she said.

At some point, Venter decided she wasn’t going to follow the straight and narrow and that her life would be richer for it. She plays because "writing music is my form of release and playing for people makes me really happy."

Venter isn’t sure what she’ll find in Texas, nor what exactly she’ll do when she arrives. She has direction, though. She is staying true to a belief: "You make a living doing what you love … that’s the goal."

Look for Venter’s CD at her shows and at Room + Board, Iconoclast Books, and Chapter One Bookstore, all in Ketchum.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.