On the eve of their big national tour – west, south and east, with dates supporting Jason Isbell – Johnny Solomon and Molly Moore of Communist Daughter stopped by the Cake Shop for a pair of shows on a glorious Sunday afternoon. The afternoon was just what you would hope for from a house show – a comfortable ramble through stories and riffs, jokes flying, a look in to the songwriting process and then the punctuation and underlining of the songs themselves.
Two years sober and happy in life with Moore, the constructs of Solomon’s songs still have an emotional, often dark weight to them, on full display in the set opener “Ghosts” from their new Lions & Lambs EP. Solomon joked that for all the intensity of the song, it was really simple writing, noting that even though he only used three chords, “there’s a gospel choir in my head.”
Although he teased Moore that a living room show was her chance to open up and say whatever she felt like saying, Solomon did most of the talking between songs, telling stories about the origins of tunes (“Fortunate Son” came from a man who was exempted from service in World War II to run his family farm, while his little brother went and died) to band history (“Fortunate Son” was also the first tune that Moore sang on) to surprises and frustrations (he was almost upset when “The Lady is an Arsonist” became popular because it felt too ironic and tongue in cheek, like a song his old band, Friends Like These, would play) to riffs on reading and eating habits on the road. Treating himself to the mocking tone, he laughed, “Once I get going, I’m like Clint Eastwood up here.”
To top off the evening, Solomon and Moore premiered a song that had yet to be played in front of an audience, so fresh that Solomon had made up a lyric while typing up the song for the performance. With Solomon’s smooth and soft voice lifted up by Moore’s clear and crisp harmony lines, they sung together, “I’m not better but I’m moving on.” Recovery suits Solomon, and songs about the harder times suit Communist Daughter, meaning that in the warm still of a Sunday evening, we get better together, and then move on.