Like for most of us, the past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for Quad-Cities singer/songwriter Molly Durnin. The epic highs and

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Durnin is a 32-year-old native of upstate New York.

lows will be encapsulated over four hours Thursday night for the intensely talented 32-year-old.

Jambrella Productions has organized a mega-music party, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at one of Durnin’s regular performance venues, the cocktail bar Eleven17, at 1117 Mound St., Village of East Davenport. About 20 musicians are scheduled to perform (there’s no cover charge), including Durnin at 6 p.m. and 9:20 p.m., the night before she heads back East, on her way to settle in her old hometown of Charleston, S.C.

She’s already booked in the popular tourist city on the ocean, through August.

“I’m looking forward to it, I love it,” Durnin said Monday. “Charleston is an exploding city.

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

The bar Eleven17 (if ya know what I mean) at 1117 Mound St., Village of East Davenport.

When I left (in 2017), there were probably 10 breweries. My brother just sent me a list of 40 breweries. He still lives there; my sister is moving  back in July.”

“I have a lot of fans in Charleston, had a lot of support there,” she said. “There’s a huge community very excited to see me return. They don’t have the same kind of community there that we do here. They’re a very transient town, a lot of people move around. They don’t have the rooted community like the Quad-Cities — I’ll miss you guys here.”

After a very rough 2020, when she and other Q-C musicians had months of gigs wiped out,

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Durnin with Jambrella Productions founder Michael Moncada.

Durnin (a full-time musician) returned to perform regularly last summer, and in the past year had a regular Sunday night slot at Eleven17.

“My goodness, I’m extremely fortunate to know not just Molly, but the rest of the Quad-Cities local music scene,” Eleven17 owner Eric Sergesketter said. “I’m good friends with a lot of them, so I’m fortunate to have all of them play at Eleven17.”

Doug Brundies is also a regular, who will perform Thursday, and many musicians like to pop by to play at each

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Doug Brundies is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Thursday.

other’s gigs, Sergesketter said.

“They all bring this energy to this little blue house, for the love of music. They love playing together,” he said. “Molly definitely brings the noise — she’s this spunky firecracker, an extremely talented girl. She brings this energy every single time.”

Co-sponsored by Realty ONE Group and Lobo’s Salsa, the Thursday card of musicians includes:

  • 6:20 p.m. – Jason MacKenzie and Kristopher Keuning
  • 6:40 p.m. – Twice on Sunday
  • 7 p.m. — Boogs Malone and Blues Rock-It
  • 7:20 p.m. – Karl Beatty and Reeves Anthony
  • 7:40 p.m. – Scott Stowe and Kristopher Keuning
  • 8 p.m. – Doug Brundies Big Acoustic Show
  • 8:30 p.m. – John Cole Born
  • 8:50 p.m. – ZAY (aka Isaiah Davis)
  • 9:20 p.m. – Molly Durnin with Craig Bentley and Eric Sparks
Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

The full lineup for Thursday night features four hours of free music.

“It’s been wild, it’s unpredictable,” Durnin said of the love and attention she’s been lavished with in the past few months. “I didn’t expect it, I feel the love. I’m kind of shocked and also concerned about Thursday. That little blue house might actually fall down.

“The music community here in the Quad-Cities is awesome, everybody coming to pay homage, wanting to give me a good sendoff,” she said. “It makes it very bittersweet. It’s the hardest move I’ve had to make in my life.”

Of Jambrella and founder Mike Moncada, Durnin said: “Oh my God, it’s absolutely unreal. When he said, let me do this, I didn’t think it would be like this. He’s like giving me my personalized Jambrella. I’m very thankful for that; it makes it very special.”

She was among 29 local musicians who played for the first Jambrella music festival – aimed to give back to local musicians and bars – on Feb. 26 at The Mound in the Village of East Davenport, raising $7,006.

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Of Eleven17 (which opened two and a half years ago, after next-door neighbor Baked decided not to open its tap room there), Durnin said: “It’s easily my favorite venue in town, because of who he is.”

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Some outdoor seating at Eleven17.

She met Sergesketter when he bartended at Harrington’s Pub in Bettendorf.

“He opened this little blue house, got this underground scene,” Durnin said. “He’s a great guy; he gets it, he gets the music scene. He’s type of guy that literally gives a shit. He’ll give you shirt off his back.”

Even though it’s small and likely will be packed (the owner said there’s no state limit on patron capacity), she wouldn’t want to have the Thursday event any other place. “He had our backs during Covid,” Durnin said.

Sergesketter has a front and back patio at Eleven17, and he’ll have some outdoor beer service, so everyone won’t have to go into the bar to order.

“From the Covid aspect, people that want to come out, can come out. If people want to wear masks, they can. It’s not required by the state,” he said.

Eleven17 typically has live music two to three nights a week, including Thursdays.

“We had another guy who did Sundays before the opportunity for her to jump in on that one, and she rocked it,” Sergesketter said of Durnin. “When she leaves, as irreplaceable as she is, this just brings more opportunity to bring other local artists in, a few other people to rotate in.”

New song/video premieres

Timed to her Q-C farewell, Durnin also recently released a new single with a video, called “It’s Time.” It is deeply personal, gritty, cathartic

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Durnin performing in the video for her new song, “It’s Fine.”

and profoundly affecting.

As anyone who has been hit hard by the pandemic can relate, she sings of battles with depression, low self-esteem, constant anxiety, attempted suicide, drinking and eating too much, and crafting her place in the world. Despite many challenges, Durnin puts on a “happy” face, muttering the title, “But it’s fine.”

She triumphantly sings, “One day I’ll be gone, you’ll be singing my songs.” Durnin called it

Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village

Moncada and Durnin bonded around the first Jambrella festival Feb. 26.

probably the favorite thing she’s written so far.

“After 2020 I felt the overwhelming need to write this song, the emotional rollercoaster that was the entirety of this past year was the catalyst for why I recorded it and needed to put it out into the world,” she posted on Facebook (where she’s got over 4,000 friends).

“It’s uncomfortable, raw and hard to sing every. damn. time,” Durnin wrote. “THANK YOU Doug Brundies and Skylark for fully producing this song/video out of the kindness of your hearts, it means more to me than you know. I couldn’t have asked for a better going away present.”

Friday morning, she’ll drive to Memphis; to Nashville the next night, and Charleston by Sunday. Despite the Tennessee cities being major music hubs, Durnin has never been to either place before.

“For once, I’m gonna sit down and watch somebody else play,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind, a race to the end. I’m being pulled apart like soft bread, people wanting a piece of me.”

Durnin said her busy gig schedule has been both exhausting and satisfying.

“I can’t complain about being popular, when making money,” she said. “But you can only spread yourself so thin. It’s the life of the rock star.”

For more on this star, visit www.mollydurnin.com.

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Big Musical Send-Off for Molly Durnin Thursday Night in the Village
Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.