If you’re from Colorado you already know the name Rich Moore, but for those who aren’t familiar, you’re in for a real treat. Musician Rich Moore is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, finger-style guitarist, songwriter, and he and his wife, Grammy Award winning singer Mollie O’Brien, have been performing together around here and the country for decades.
A Player Piano and Thumb Pick
His father sang in a Philadelphia chorus, Mendelssohn Club, that performed with an orchestra and he “got dragged to those as a child”. But those shows had a positive impact on Rich and gave him “a real appreciation for old fashioned form to music - how classical and symphonic pieces will take a theme and work it a hundred different ways and tie it all together neatly at the end. That’s been a big influence on me musically.”
He was first introduced to the guitar in the mid-1950s while on a family vacation in Bermuda. The memory of a guitar player who had a pick on his thumb stuck with Rich. “Then fast forward to rock ‘n’ roll, the Beatles, ‘the great folk scare’ - I got a really cheap plastic guitar and was able to make music with it, play chords and here I am!”
Well, a few things happened in between.
The Main Point
Meeting Harry Tuft
In 1981, Rich quit Ferretta’s Music, joined a country western band and went to Hawaii for three months. He had met Mollie right before he left, so when he came back to Denver he began working at the DFC (when it was on Broadway). “The DFC was a huge influence – if I remembered it when I was fifteen when someone casually mentioned it on a radio show, you know it was a big influence. All kinds of great people and guitars came into the store. I always felt welcomed there. You walk in the door and you feel welcomed.”
Life (and Music) Happens
Then in 2006, Mollie and Rich began recording together. Their albums to date include the critically acclaimed 900 Baseline, Saints and Sinners and Love Runner.
Although an amazing guitarist, Rich also plays other instruments. He’s a bassist (electric and upright) and plays a little banjo, but he leaves singing to the pro. “I’m married to Mollie O’Brien and she’s a great singer, so I’m real careful about what I sing around her. I’ve written a few songs with lyrics and a lot of instrumental guitar pieces and released a few CDs. I enjoy playing blues - a simple format that can go to a million different places. Mollie and I play together quite a bit, anything we can with one guitar. We might do an original piece, a Dylan song - I’m always looking for great songs.”
Rich has also provided music for a variety of other projects, including “On The Row,” a staged reading of writings by death row inmates in Arkansas, and for the ongoing PBS series “Heart of a Building,” about energy efficient building practices (his day job for many years involved weatherization field work).
Showing Off Pays Off