Remembering Jason Molina: Jeremy Squires’ Tribute

As part of a series called “Remembering Jason Molina,” I’m collecting stories about Jason and his impact on songwriters, musicians, and music writers. These are all individual tributes, on how Jason has affected their music, their perception of music, or just anecdotes on meeting him or seeing him live. Each story is being posted to surround and promote the release of the upcoming album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, which not only celebrates Jason’s music, but will also help the Molina family and MusiCares with its proceeds.

Today’s tribute comes from singer-songwriter Jeremy Squires. Jeremy’s music doesn’t differ too much from Jason’s in the fact that both are dark, sullen, but not oppressive. Both also sing in a very personal and honest way from a dismal place of depression and mental illness making Jeremy one of the first I contacted for this remembrance project. And, when Jeremy agreed to participate he sent a few words with his outstanding interpretation and spin to Jason’s “No Moon On The Water.”

Jason Molina

“I just want to say that Jason Molina was one of the most talented songwriters and not in the way that a person would normally think of. His voice was one that is so fragile and his playing style was different from any other songwriter I had ever heard. You honestly could not box him into any genre and that is what I loved about his music. I remember the first time I really (really) listened and loved him was on a very rare and now out of print 7″ No Moon On The Water (I guess it was for Chunklet magazine.) I thought it was so fucking dark and he sounded like he was in pain and to me that is what was so special about his music. (Because he was)

April was so kind to ask me to write about what Jason Molina’s music meant to me. Here is a cover of “No Moon On The Water.”

– Jeremy Squires

Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Jeremy Squires: Website; Facebook; Twitter; YouTube

Remembering Jason Molina: Matt Bauer’s Tribute


As part of a series called “Remembering Jason Molina,” I’m collecting stories about Jason and his impact on songwriters, musicians, and music writers. These are all individual tributes, on how Jason has affected their music, their perception of music, or just anecdotes on meeting him or seeing him live.

Today’s tribute comes from singer-songwriter Matt Bauer. I asked Matt to participate in this remembrance project because he contributed a stellar cover of “I Can Not Have Seen The Light” for the upcoming album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina. I wish I could post the track, but I can’t. I guess you’ll just have to pre-order the album or wait for it’s release on April 22nd to hear it. But, in the meantime, you can read what he has to say about Jason.


There’s very little music I’ve been introduced to in my adult life that has moved me and even changed me the way that music could when I was growing up. Like, say, hearing Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade when I was 14 and just having my idea of music turned upside down in the best way possible. Or going to a fiddle festival in Virginia in my late teens feeling so moved I didn’t know what to do with myself. Like there was nothing else that mattered but finding out more about his kind of music.

When my friend Nathan from The Last of the Blacksmiths first introduced me to Songs: Ohia, it made me feel like I was a teenager again. In that way where a piece of music seems impossibly moving and important. In that way that music can sometimes make you feel like you’re not alone, like someone has put to words something you’d been waiting for someone to say your whole life. I know I sound over the top, but that’s the point. I was a grown man wildly moved and nearly evangelical in a way only a crazed teenager can be.

I didn’t know Jason. Can only speak to the music and what it meant to me. It’s been a huge comfort to me over the years. I think a lot of what gets me about it is in the title of one of my favorite albums of his, What Comes After the Blues. Good god he had a struggle, but he always seemed to be trying to find the light beyond it.

– Matt Bauer

Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Matt Bauer: Website; Facebook; Twitter; YouTube

Remembering Jason Molina: Barzin’s Tribute


Every week (maybe twice a week) before and after the release of upcoming tribute album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, I will post a written word tribute or story to celebrate his life and music.

After seeing Barzin’s cover of Magnolia Electric Co’s “Blue Factory Flames”, I knew I had to include him in this project. The bio on Barzin’s website describes the singer-songwriter’s music as “slow and melancholic, introspective and confessional”. This descirption is could also be used when describe most of Jason’s music. This week Barzin recalls seeing Jason live and talks about his songwriting.


“I came to Jason’s music in a slow and cautious way. When I first heard about him, it was years and years ago when he had just come into the scene. Few had heard of him, but there was a buzz around him in the underground scene. I remember going to see him play at some shitty bar in Toronto. He was late. He had driven something like 8h from Chicago to Toronto and barely made his set. Weirdly enough, the things I remember from that show were not the music, but little things like the way he wore his baseball cap so low, as though he was trying to entirely cover his eyes with it. And I also remember the way he chewed his gum through out the set. He had this almost animated and intense way of chewing his gum that was hard not to notice. At one point in the set, he spit out the gum and kicked it into the audience while still playing his song. Funny what we remember of certain performances.

But that was a long time ago, and I have come to have a great respect for Jason as a songwriter. He shed all the comparison to Will Oldham and showed himself to be a great songwriter. When it comes to writers whose works can be defined by their honesty and sincerity he is amongst the finest. There are musicians who dig deep and bring out gems, but he was able to dig just a little deeper and pull out some very very honest material. And maybe that’s what happens when you tap a little too much into yourself — you open something in yourself that is hard to close. I still continue to go back to the album Didn’t It Rain. One of the albums that continue to stand the test of time. Love the rawness of the recording and the performances on that album. The songs are so simple yet so memorable. And the lyrics… Well the lyrics are quite something. Some of the best stuff he wrote in my humble opinion.

Jason Molina was a great, great songwriter. It is sad to lose him.

– Barzin

Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Barzin: Website; Facebook; Twitter

Remembering Jason Molina: Will Johnson’s Tribute

molina and johnson

Sunday, March 16th, marked a year since Jason Molina passed away, so I thought I would re-post the tribute Will Johnson wrote about Jason and the time they spent together while recording their 2009 album, Molina and Johnson. Not only was Will kind enough to contribute a cover of “34 Blues” for Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, but also gave me permission to post this lovely piece on Common Folk Music. This very meaningful and personal reflection is a great start to an on-going tribute in which I will be posting before and after the release of Farewell Transmission from various songwriters and musicians discussing the affect Jason or his music has had on them.

Late one night in March of 2004 I was introduced to Jason Molina at the northwest corner of 6th and Red River in Austin, Texas. He was wearing a green military style jacket with a black t-shirt underneath that had some sparkly script on it. I think it had something to do with country music. When we shook hands, he said: “Songwriter, right?” I said yes. We talked for a few minutes, realized a mutual admiration and connected some dots through various folks that had previously linked us from afar. I’d been a fan of his work for five or six years by that point. Before we parted ways I made sure to convey to him that on a recent, very long tour around Europe, the Songs:Ohia Magnolia Electric Company LP had become a place of musical sanctuary for me. His expansive, remarkable voice, and those songs became a crucial source of counsel over those miles and nights. A needed and regular companion just before sleep.

We didn’t keep in touch but we’d see each other around here and there, usually in some South by Southwest stew of haste; in a club or makeshift venue we’d never been to before, and probably wouldn’t return to again. During those years I was dedicated to seeing Magnolia play any chance I got. They’d fast become one of my favorite bands, and their recordings were usually in regular rotation on my pickup truck solo tours. I went to see them at Emo’s on September 13, 2007, and they were in astonishingly good, mid-tour form. Aftward Jason and I wound up talking at the merch booth for a while. We discussed the types of hats we were comfortable enough wearing onstage, and found we both had long-running affection for the color of pumpkin orange. He had strong opinions on both topics. He seemed to have strong opinions on everything. When the 2am house lights went on and we started into our farewells, he flatly said that we should make a record together. I agreed. He suggested that we start the session during the first full moon of 2008. We swapped email addresses on scraps of paper and said goodbye. I drove home inspired.

Jason emailed to follow up on it within 48 hours. I didn’t know him well, but I liked him a lot. Over the next few weeks I came to find out fast that he was very dedicated to this idea. We missed the first full moon of the new year, but secured his plane ticket and reserved our dates for February 2008 at the Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas. The idea we talked about on the followup phone calls was each bringing five songs in, then seeing where it went from there.

When I arrived to the studio he was on the back porch with a cigarette in hand, at the ready. He’d come all the way from London, and I was the one that was late. He wanted to get a thesaurus, so I drove us into Denton. We found one that was suitable, along with guitar strings and groceries for the next few days. After that we drove south to the Swisher Road Wal-Mart, where we filled a shopping cart with various types of notepads, packages or colored construction paper, Post-It notes, a box of Sharpies, a box of Mirado Black Warrior pencils, a case of Lone Star beer, a Daisy BB gun, and plenty of BB’s for the week. He was very specific about the Black Warrior pencils.

I’d rented a cabin in Mississippi a few weeks earlier to write toward our record. I came back to Texas with a handful of songs I wanted to try, and realized after we each tracked one apiece that first night that I would shelve them all for another time. He recorded a version of “Wooden Heart”, and I recorded something that I later wrote off as a bad fit, and about 60 percent shitty. Overall there was a feeling of great happiness between us that night. We had porch beers late, and slowly concluded that the record would be better suited by writing in the moment, on the premises. Clean slate. The next day he set up a writing station in the band apartment, and I set one up in the iso-booth. For the next nine days we workshopped everything, backing each other readily, working diligently together, and at times alone. We tried to be the best singers, multi-instrumentalists and side-people we could be for one another. We were industrious, prolific, and inspired. We barked at each other when a line wasn’t right, and left our politeness at the door when it came to the writing. His humor was great, and there was a good balance and rhythm to our days. It felt like camp. Any time there was a needed moment of therapy we stepped out back and shot the BB gun into the woods, or at various targets we’d set up.

Jason was usually the last to bed every night, and the first one up. I’d wake up on the lounge futon and often the first thing I would see through the window was his silhouette or shadow on the porch, pacing, with cigarette in hand. Sometimes with a beer. Loyal and ready. He worked on his songwriting with the care and attention of a gifted and obsessed technician. It was an incredible dedication to look upon, this relationship that pulsated between Jason and the song. I learned a lot from him in those days. I watched the way he worked lines and verses over and over, sitting at that little desk, and on occasion found myself in awe of his tirelessness. Our surroundings were littered with paper. Drafts, chord sheets, fragments on pages, notebooks, and final lyric sheets. My longtime friend and bandmate Matt Pence was engineering the project, and was a source of great direction and guidance for us. Mikey Kapinus, Howard Draper, Sarah Jaffe, Bryan Vandivier, and Scott Dandom all dropped by or stayed with us at various points to help see it through. They were all integral to the session’s morale and spirit. They each performed beautifully and we were lucky to have them involved. We recorded and mixed twenty-two songs in nine days.

That last night Jason and I sat down outside and worked out the sequence of the record. In my experience this has often been a lengthy headache of a puzzle, but we agreed on the order in about thirty minutes. We then took various notes, lyric scraps, and artifacts from the session, put them all in a Ball jar, and buried it out back. Our own time capsule. We stacked all of our notes and lyric sheets up on the table and looked through them. We’d written a lot for just a short time together. He requested that I keep them all together safe, and we immediately jumped to the idea of making another record together. We stayed up late and said our goodbyes the next morning. I didn’t know I’d only get to see him one more time after that.

Secretly Canadian kindly released our record in November of 2009.

I won’t write much about our cancelled tours. I can only say that I don’t think Jason was in any condition to tour then. It wasn’t an easy time for a lot of us simply given the fact that we loved him and cared for him. We didn’t want to see him struggle.

For the next couple of years we relied on phone calls and emails. My guess is that that’s the way it went with him and most of his friends during that time. We didn’t talk often, but when we did it was usually at great length and not without difficult moments. We still discussed the idea of re-circling the wagons and recording again. In 2011, because of his living quarters’ regulations, his communication was reduced to letter-writing. We exchanged a few, and it was a practice I liked. His last letter made me grateful for our friendship, the time we had together, his generosity, and the faith he had in his friends and strangers alike. There was a noticeable tone of of peace in his last letter he suggested that I make a Homerun Baker baseball painting. He explained to me that his father used to deliver newspapers to the Hall of Famer, and it was said that later in his life Baker paid for everything with Indian Head pennies. I made that painting last month with Jason in mind, but never told him I’d made it. I meant to. Every time I looked at it over in the corner I thought of him, reminded that I needed to write soon. I don’t think reaching out would have changed history. I don’t think the story would have changed. It’s a matter of being left with the feeling of wishing I’d done something I just didn’t do.

Connect when the feeling strikes. Work on loving. Work to avoid regret. Because a lot of the time it’s hard to tell what the last time looks like.”

- Will Johnson/Austin, TX March 21, 2013

Purchase Molina & Johnson: Amazon; iTunes; Secretly Canadians
Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Will Johnson: Website; Facebook; Twitter

Coleman Lantern & A Radio: My Tribute To Jason Molina

It has taken me a long time to pay tribute to Jason in a way I feel appropriate. Of course, the tribute album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina is coming out on April 22, 2014 via Rock The Cause, and the album is a great homage to Jason and his music. However, I still feel compelled to do more, so I offer the following.


First, here is a little history on the genesis of the aforementioned tribute album. Jason’s death affected me more than any “famous” person’s death has in the past. His music affected me on a deeply personal level I could not adequately articulate the importance of his music in my life, nor could I express my feelings after his death. The album was born out of this need to honor Jason and his music. So, after Jason’s death, Chris Mateer (Uprooted Music Revue) and I discussed putting out a tribute album. One day, after emailing back and forth, Chris called to tell me he had got the non-profit label Rock The Cause on board and that they were willing to provide their expertise to produce this album. The rest is history.

The missing piece for me while trying to write about Jason has been his connection to my home state of West Virginia. Whenever I would listen to his music, I would often times ask “What’s his connection with the state?”; “What’s up with the West Virginia-related song titles on The Black Album and the constant references in his songs?” Then in 2011, the news came that Jason was in West Virginia recovering and battling alcoholism, and, then, I knew his connection was deep, probably a lot deeper than I could imagine. I did some digging and found that Jason’s family is from the Beckley area. It was the confirmation I needed. I knew my connection with Jason and his music was much more than a superficial adoration of his musical style — I felt a spiritual kinship of sorts. Jason exudes the same traits many residents of West Virginia share, and his music contains some of those same Appalachian characteristics. These connections are what spoke to me on both a conscious and subconscious level.

Working with Rock The Cause on this album, I have been given the opportunity to talk to some people who knew Jason well, which also gave me what I needed to write this tribute. It is a shame in my opinion that not much has been written about Jason’s childhood and the time spent in West Virginia. West Virginia is in his blood. It shaped him as a human being and as the songwriter he became.

Both of Jason’s parents are from Beckley, West Virginia and both sets of grandparents. Many members of the Molina family remain there. Jason spent most of his childhood between Lorain, Ohio and Beckley. His father was a teacher, so Jason spent many of his school breaks in West Virginia. He probably spent half the year exploring West Virginia. As a child, Jason would hunt for Civil War artifacts with his father in the mountains. People often say Jason is from Ohio, but that is really only half true. He’s from two different states. When he was a small child and found that he wasn’t considered a citizen of West Virginia, Jason threw a fit so bad that his father actually wrote the Governor who then replied with a letter proclaiming him a citizen of the state. That love and pride of being a West Virginian or of West Virginia heritiage, really shows in his music, and especially in Songs:Ohia’s The Black Album. West Virginians understand this love and pride of our state, history, and culture, and we seem to always be able to find others in the crowd from the state who share our spirit and sentiments. This shared camaraderie is perhaps the strongest quality that stood out about Jason and his music. Without even actually knowing this about him, I have always sensed it on some level.

In my opinion, The Black Album is one of Jason’s albums that doesn’t get the recognition or the respect it deserves. There does not seem to be a lot written about it, but what is written isn’t exactly true. It’s something that I have always felt deep in my heart whenever I would listen to it (which is everyday), but never had confirmation until the conversations I have had with people who knew Jason. Some suggest that The Black Album was incomplete — “a work in progress” — but, I contend it is actually a complete and fully-realized album. For me, it has always felt complete and just how Jason intended.

During his Junior year in high school, Jason played bass for a metal band in Cleveland. After his bandmates graduated, Jason was simply a bass player without a band. Then, Jason graduated and attended Oberlin College where he studied shape note singing. It was during this time when he started singing. After his research, Jason started performing and writing The Black Album. Written in his grandmother’s basement in Beckley he spent time studying Appalachian music which really comes through in the album. This particular aspect of The Black Album is what struck me the most. To me, it always seemed stark, dark, lonely, secluded, melancholy but not necessarily depressive. These are the qualities of Appalachian mountain music and people. West Virginians are survivors. We struggle and we have always struggled but we fight our way back from whatever bad situation comes our way. In this world, West Virginia has always felt like the “outsider”, and this outsider mentality and feeling is something that Jason wrote about throughout his career. He survived as long as he could on songwriting while battling depression, and he never really lost hope.

In some ways Jason was a historian and this is another thing that stood out in The Black Album. The song titles are distinctly West Virginian or they have played a part in the state’s history. This I know, because I hold a minor in Area (Appalachian) Studies and I am a student of West Virginia history. We had that in common as well. For example, take a look at “Hayfoot (U.M.W. Pension)”. In the song he sings, “It goes hayfoot with strawfoot, Ya throw down,” which is a reference to a Civil War cadence. During this time many of the soldiers didn’t know left from right, but they did know the difference between hay and straw. So, to help the soldiers march in step, the drill sergeants would tie a wisp of hay to the left and a wisp of straw to the right. “Tenskwatawa” was a Native American religious and political leader of the Shawnee tribe, known as the Shawnee Prophet, and the brother of Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee. Tenskawatawa was originally given the name Lalawethika which means “He Makes a Loud Noise” or “The Noise Maker”. Was he referring to himself in “Tenskwatawa”? Who really knows? But, in true Jason fashion he would take history and apply it to his day-to-day living and songwriting writing songs in code to describe what he was feeling or going through.

Didn’t It Rain is probably the album that most personally reflects Jason. It was his aesthetic as far as music. And, for me, the lyric that stands out the most on the album is, “When I die, put my bones in an empty street/ to remind me of how it used to be/ Don’t write my name on a stone/ bring a Coleman lantern and a radio/ Cleveland game and two fishing poles” from “Blue Factory Flame.” I have always felt that this song is Jason, and I’m not entirely wrong. The lyrics were taken from a conversation about dying with a close confidant. It was a personal moment translated into song giving the listener a glimpse into some dreary yet meaningful conversation. Although written in code, it is still something intimate and the listener gets that through Jason’s ability to communicate through music. It’s really amazing and showcases his wonderful ability to craft great music. Also, that lyric from “Blue Factory Flame” is how I have always imagined Jason. I’ve always imagined him to be just a regular guy who loved to fish; a guy who enjoyed the simpler things in life.

Writing music didn’t come easy for Jason. It was his job, and he never took it for granted. He worked constantly on his music and tended to be a perfectionist about it. He would re-record songs because he thought he didn’t get it right the first time. However, Jason also recorded in a lot of one-takes. Working on songs long before entering the studio, Jason would wake up at 4 AM or 5 AM writing a song and working on it for hours or days until he got the song where he wanted it. He had a vision for his songs and knew exactly how he wanted them to sound, so one-take was often all he needed.

If there was one thing that I would want people to understand about Jason, it would be his work ethic. Jason worked hard to get the results he did. The work and progress he made throughout the years made Jason the kind of artist we all knew and loved. And, I think he owes much of his positive attitude and work mentality to his coal mining family.

Jason was an alcoholic, and like many alcoholics he suffered from depression. Throughout the years the songs would help him work through emotions, but towards the end he wasn’t really writing a lot of music. He didn’t have that outlet like before. He wasn’t writing at the same pace. He never recorded these, but he would talk to friends and family about them, and sometimes he would sing those songs to them. It didn’t seem to help much though. His friends and family rallied around him trying to help him get better, thinking that if he could get back into music things would change, but they didn’t. Sadly, Jason lost his battle last March. Jason was only 39 years old. He had a lot more to give and more songs to sing, and that’s what affected me and many people the most.

No one will ever know the impact Jason has had on music, but most who have listened to his songs have been forever changed by the emotion he was able to convey. There are a number of things about Jason that really resonate with me. They are his pride in his West Virginia roots, his ability to connect with people through song, and, most importantly, the fact that he was really always just a regular guy. He was a grandson, son, brother, friend, and so much more, but he was also very much just an ordinary West Virginian who happened to write and perform incredible songs.

Because Jason’s music has had a tremendous affect on my life and my perception of music, I wanted to share the same experience with others. Producing something that allowed Jason and his music to live on was the purpose of Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina. It was a selfish, yet not-so-selfish way for me to heal. Proceeds from the tribute will go to the family Jason left behind and MusiCares, a non-profit organization helping uninsured musicians battling depression, substance abuse, and other disabilities. So, please help Jason live on by first, buying the album, and, second by donating to organizations like MusiCares, Nuci’s Space, and Sweet Relief.

Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason MolinaAmazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook

Q & A With Lydia Loveless

Photo Credit: Blackletter/ Patrick Crawford

Photo Credit: Blackletter/ Patrick Crawford

Two years after the critical success of her breakout second album, Indestructible Machine, Lydia Loveless comes out rockin’ and swingin’ with her fourth album, Somewhere Else, which is by far my favorite release of 2014. I have a feeling Somewhere Else will be a strong contender standing its ground firmly in the pantheon of many end-of-the-year-best-of lists. And, I’m willing to put good money on it. Somewhere Else is a damn good album showcasing Lydia’s more mature writing (“Verlaine Shot Rimbaud” — look them up) and her sultry, knockout voice. Every time I have pressed the “play” button on Somewhere Else, I don’t want to be anywhere else. So, after listening to the album, I had to ask Lydia a few questions, and she graciously accepted. Read the interview below.

CFM: How did you become involved in the type of music you play/sing?

LL: Hard to say. I guess music is in my blood, we were always listening to records around the house when I was a kid. Lots of new wave, pop, classic rock, a little country. And, when I started playing guitar, it was easiest for me to learn Hank Williams songs and just strum and sing, so country ended up being a huge influence. It all got kind of mixed up.

CFM: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration? What is your usual songwriting process? What is your favorite part of the process and why?

LL: Life, books, movies, other people’s problems, particulary things people say to me…So, if we have a conversation and it ends up in a song, sorry. It almost always starts with lyrics, or at least a hook, but occasionally I’ll just have a melody stuck in my head. My favorite part is when I realize I’m actually writing a song that I am going to complete, and I’m not just messing around with ideas.

CFM: You have released four albums, how has your music evolved since the first? What makes Somewhere Else different from your previous albums?

LL: Well, my first album is literally like, the first songs I ever wrote. So I feel I have definitely matured and honed my craft a little more. I don’t think those are bad songs (well, some of them are pretty stupid), but they’re the thoughts and I guess yearnings of a 16 year old girl, so they’re a bit awkward. Somewhere Else is me as an actual grown up, hahaha. I’ve improved on guitar, vocally, and I just generally feel more comfortable in the studio and making decisions now. I’m fine with letting the music go where it needs to instead of trying to cram it into a genre.

CFM: If you could pick a song to describe yourself what would it be? Why?

LL: “Somewhere Else.” ‘Cause I wanna be! Or, do you mean someone else’s song? Probably “Bohemian Rhapsody” ’cause I’m a lunatic and all over the place mentally all the time.

CFM: Just for fun…fill in the blanks:

–CFM: Without music, I would be…
LL: Unemployed.
–CFM: Music is…
LL: Therapy.
–CFM: My music makes me feel…
LL: Energized.
--CFM: I write songs because…
LL: I have to.

Purchase Somewhere Else
Lydia Loveless: Website; Facebook; Twitter

The Far West – Any Day Now
What originally attracted me to both folk and punk music was the simplicity of the production. There’s a lack of pretense in those genres that allows songs to stand naked and be enjoyed without any added fluff or bluster. It’s this rawness that immediately caught my ear when I first heard the new album from The Far West, Any Day Now. The album’s opener, “On The Road,” has a relaxed western atmosphere and you can nearly feel the dry heat of Los Angeles as Lee Briante sings, “I can see the mountains out my window. The Hollywood sign is out there too.” The whole album is chock-full of solid songwriting, great arrangements that bring out the darker elements of the songs, and production that fits the band’s aesthetic just right. Let a little California sun into your life on this cold February day and check out Any Day Now.