Remembering Jason Molina: Viking Moses’ Tribute

vikingmoses

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 new 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 we have Viking Moses discussing the first time he met Jason and the generosity that helped his career. Jason’s kindness comes as no surprise for those who knew him. He was a passionate man who was loyal and warm. And, as Viking Moses explains, it is this devotion as well as his commitment to songwriting that can be heard throughout his songs.

I met Jason Molina in December 2000 at a show we played together at The Galaxy Hut in Arlington, Virginia. He was traveling solo supporting the release of Ghost Tropic. I was traveling via Amtrak.

After the Galaxy Hut show Jason offered me a lift to Philadelphia, and he gave me a generous portion of the cash from the show — completely unexpected!

He was driving this swanky rented town car. He seemed mortified, declaring that he’d never opt for a luxury sedan, that the rental company forced the upgrade since they didn’t have the economy model he’d reserved.

On the car ride he asked me to reach down and grab the binder from under the passenger seat. It was his tour itinerary. He welcomed me to stay along and open up as many of the shows as I wished. Each night he’d put me on stage after the scheduled support acts, and right before his own set, the choicest spot to be exposed to new audiences.

I remember there being only one cd in the car: Lovers Rock by Sade. We listened to this on repeat for days and days through the wintery white landscapes of Northeastern United States.

I felt very close to him the years following. We were living nearby one another in Chicago. We took several more road trips. He helped me record a few albums. He introduced me to his label Secretly Canadian who at the time were a 3-man outfit operating out of their house in Bloomington, Indiana. He constantly had a record or a book for me to absorb, a friend of his in town I should meet for dinner, a show I should head to. He opened countless doors of insight, friendship, and action for me.

I chose to record “The Lioness” for this tribute, firstly, because it’s one of the most beautiful and powerful love songs I’ve ever encountered, and secondly, I feel it’s a perfect example of Jason’s dedication to others… “if you can’t get here fast enough, I will swim to you.”

Didn’t It Rain, and Magnolia Electric Company are his works to which I feel closest, however, because this time we shared so closely and briefly was the time he was composing and recording these albums. For me, they are embodiments of selfless generosity, guidance, courage, and above all else, friendship.

-Brendon Massei of Viking Moses, Ferrara Italia, 19 April 2014.






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Viking Moses: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Bandcamp

Remembering Jason Molina: Doc Feldman’s Tribute (Feat. Brothers Lazaroff)

doc feldman

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 new 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 is a real treat! My good friend, Doc Feldman, honestly reflects on the immense impact Jason has had on him as a songwriter in his meaningful tribute. And, I’m sure anyone who has heard Jason’s songs can relate. However, Doc took it one step further. He met up with his friends and former bandmates, Brothers Lazaroff, to record this “cathartic”, bluesy, jazzy, laid-back cover of “Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go”, which you can listen to at the end of this post. And, although the version is more relaxed, he has handled the song with a beautiful, melancholy reverence that only a seasoned songwriter and bluesman can. It’s a tribute that will leave you saying “FUCK.”

(P.S.: I threw in Doc covering Jason’s song “The Old Horizon.”)

Photo by Forest Casey

Photo by Forest Casey

I was recently asked during a songwriter-in-the-round type night to talk about and then perform a song from an artist that had a big influence on me. I grew up listening to The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and the Allman Brothers, so there was of course that kind of Mount Rushmore of Rock n Roll that seeped into my soul. I’ve been through phases of my life where I’d listen to nothing but the blues, or old timey music, or country music from the 70s, or even non-stop Reggae or free jazz for months or even years on straight. There have of course been extremely influential artists that I’ve actually played with and exchanged ideas with over the years who have had a direct and profound impact on my songwriting. But outside of those experiences, there’s really only one modern “contemporary” artist that stands out as a profound influence on me, and that’s Jason Molina. Though I never met him in person, since first hearing his music (and immediately consuming everything I could find of his), I’ve just always felt a profoundly personal connection with him. One that isn’t easily explained I suppose.

Jason was magikal, and I mean that in the absolute best Crowley-esque way. He was dark and mysterious. He was sad and vulnerable. He could bite and sink his teeth in hard. He was comforting in his raw beauty. His guitar could kick your fucking ass if it wanted to, and it was devastating when it did. And that voice! Holy shit that voice could kill. It had an unyielding power replete with lightning bolts of melancholia that sizzled and burned on your skin like a brand or tattoo when it would strike. Upon first hearing him, I just remember being awestruck; my bottom jaw opened; and me muttering some monosyllabic tone like, “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucckk!” I doubt I’m the only one to have had that same feeling of wonderment with him. As I dove deeper, I became obsessed with his ability to hold back. I loved his willingness to slow the fuck down and try to be in the moment in every moment. No movement or intonation or breath was wasted. He was willing to be vulnerable in both his lyrical content and musical delivery with the greatest kind of “fuck you, this is all I got, so take it or leave it” kind of attitude though not in a dismissive way towards others but in the most beautiful-of-inviting-others-to-share-in-this-freedom type of way. He was incredibly inspiring to me, and I’m so grateful to have found his music along life’s journey. I was truly saddened as many of us were when we learned that he had passed and was ultimately unsuccessful in overcoming his abuse and addiction to alcohol. I think the world has been seriously cheated out of having such a songwriter (and man for that matter) still with us to continue to share of himself and his musical vision.

I recorded this version of “Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go,” the title track off Molina’s 2006 solo release, with my good friends Brothers Lazaroff. The band; consisting of David and Jeff Lazaroff on electric guitars, Grover Stewart on drums, Teddy Brookins on acoustic bass, Mo Egeston on keyboards, and me playing acoustic guitar and singing; recorded this song in David’s home studio. Everything was recorded live with just one take if I remember correctly. The only real “overdub” was David going back over the intro with all sorts of crazy sounds and noises and then mixing the tracks, which to me now totally makes this version for me. The track was then mastered graciously by the absolutely fantastic Jacob Detering of Red Pill Entertainment. It was a tribute that was totally cathartic and satisfying for me to get to do with such great artists and even better people.

–Derek (aka Doc) Feldman









Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Doc Feldman: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Bandcamp
Brothers Lazaroff: Website; Facebook; Twitter; YouTube; Bandcamp

Remembering Jason Molina: Gabriel Douglas’ Tribute

Gabriel Douglas

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 new 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.

Lately, I’ve been very lax posting to the site. It’s not that I don’t want to post, it’s just the day job. If I could find a way to make money doing what I love, I’d quit my job in a heartbeat. So, I’ve finally found the time to post Gabriel Douglas’ tribute. A songwriter and prolific collaborator within the Minneapolis music community, Gabriel contributed his mournful rendition of “The Dark Don’t Hide It” to the album. Gabriel took Jason’s more up-tempo original and turned it into a heavy composition with the intention of slowly uncovering the honesty written by Jason while creating a sombre atmosphere. It’s actually best to listen to Gabriel’s version while reading his tribute. I promise, it’ll all come together then.

jason-molina

I encountered Songs: Ohia in early 2004 as I was in the midst of college. Many nights were spent working on projects or out at bonfires with those songs jangling around. A good number of nights were spent with Jason’s songs & Lake Superior.

A lot of the songs still meander in & out of my driving playlists as I’m out touring. He’s got a lot of great songs that go with windshield gazing, especially at dusk or counting headlights on the overnight. Magnolia Electric Co. landed in my lap from a friend living in the Pacific Northwest a handful of years ago. “The Dark Don’t Hide It” completely knocked me off my feet. I’ve always enjoyed the coming clean, the calling a spade a spade, even the sneer that comes through many of his songs. Letting the unflattering moments get just as much time as the gems, is something I took from his music. Raw & refreshing is how his works came into my life.

He encapsulated the songwriter that can bring his songs & thoughts to a whisper, just him & a guitar, and then he can bring the next song to a full, expanding cavalcade of steel guitars, stacked vocals, & still the heartfelt undertones in every stanza, every outro, every break in his voice.He had a great grasp on bringing me into moments. My songs became more confident with being unfalteringly honest, keeping songs heated & bedded in the moments when the songs came to fruition after listening to his music. To let those experiences, good & bad, hopeful & frustrating, be a part of the music you create.

–Gabriel Douglas






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Gabriel Douglas: Facebook; Twitter; Youtube; Soundcloud

With The Grain: Jalapeño De Mezcal and Thee Dang Dangs

It’s summer grab a beach bunny and hit the beach Moondoggie! 

surfers

First off we need a tasty beverage somthing that sizzles, the Jalapeño De Mezcal

Jalapeño De Mezcal

Ingredients
2 ounces of Crema De Mezcal
2 ounces of Ginger Cordial
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce of simple syrup
2 jalapeño wheels

For garnish
Smoked jalapeño
*Smoked jalapeño ginger orange sugar, for rim

Directions
1. Muddle jalapeño wheels. 2. Combine muddled jalapeño with Crema De Mezcal, Ginger Cordial, lime juice and simple syrup, shake and double strain over rocks. 3. Rim the glass with smoked jalapeño ginger orange sugar (see recipe below) and garnish with smoked jalapeño.

*Smoked jalapeño ginger orange sugar

Ingredients
1 pound of fresh ginger root
5 limes
2 cups of sugar

Directions for garnish
1. Juice 1 pound of fresh ginger root and boil it with the juice of 5 limes and 2 cups of sugar until all the sugar is dissolved. 2. Then take the ginger root left over from juicing and put it in the oven at low heat to dry it out. Constantly check it so it does not burn, but just becomes dry and crispy. 3. Extract the jalapeño seeds from a jalapeño and roast them in the oven on low heat until they are crisp. 4. Mix ginger root, sugar, and jalapeno seeds to taste and use either a food smoker or char a wood block and put all ingredients in a closed container to be smoked. 5. Finally grind the smoked ingredients in a food processor or spice grinder to get a powdery consistency.

Next we need some music Big Kahuna, some hip shakin’  ipso cripso Bikini Grindin’ beach dancin’ surf music….

beachbunnycropped copy

Thee Dang Dangs are a Denver, CO based Psych Surf Garage Rock band proving that surf is a state of mind not a place.

Fronted by Rebecca Williams with her reverb-heavy psychedelic sultry vocals conjures up an image of a reform school Gidget who’d think Moondoggie was a square man. Heavy hitting fuzzy surf guitar riffs, surf pounding beats this ain’t the twist daddy-o it’s the pile driver.

thedangdangs2

Members

Rebecca Williams – Vocals/Guitar
Scott Gervais – Drums
Ray Koren – Guitar/ Keys
Matt Lane – Bass / Synth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Download For The People, enter Zero or toss them some clams

Remembering Jason Molina: Butch Tressel’s Tribute

thetressels

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 new 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, Butch Tressel from the roots-rock band, The Tressels, gives a personal account about discovering Jason’s music and the moment when it all made sense. It’s a tale of a bad marriage, a shitty gig, and finding comfort in Jason’s words. But, what isn’t shitty is, Butch’s cover of “Hammer Down” at the end of his tribute.

Photo by Dylan Long

Photo by Dylan Long

I got into Jason Molina late, I think the first song I ever heard was “31 seasons in the minor leagues” from the Hard to Love a Man EP. I always loved the line “You’re never going to win the game..” I loved how he managed to sum up the emotions of impossible situations so well. It had a lot to do with his voice, I always found it warm and comforting.

There was a night where it all clicked for me and solidified my affection for the man behind the Magnolia Electric Co. It was the winter of 2012, my band The Tressels were about to leave Philly for a gig in Manhattan in support of our American Sunset EP. We were sans van at the time and were travelling in cars. We loaded all our gear into our tiny cars and I elected to drive alone. I needed to. I was sick and I needed to think. My marriage was on its last legs and I thought the trip would give me time to get some perspective on it.

I hit 476 and turned on What Comes After the Blues. By the time “Leave the City” came on I had hit the stretch of Jersey turnpike wasteland that Jason Molina describes so well. Freightyards, empty highways, long stretches of ominous interlocking pipes, and whatever is chasing you.

Manhattan is a tough place to play. You basically have to play there to keep playing there. The venue we booked was what a middle eastern club promoter imagined what a rock club looks like. You had to walk onto the stage to get to the bathroom, and there was a velvet rope to hold back our rabid fans.

No one came. Well no one except for my friend Dan who comes to every NYC show. He bought me a beer as conciliation. I ordered a Budweiser and took a sip, and got half shit beer, half broken glass. The bottle was so old that the lip tore off when the bartender twisted the cap off. I immediately heard Jason Molina’s quavering voice in my head. “You’re never going to win the game…”

I headed home that night with Magnolia again on the iPod, and with every listen new details unraveled. As discouraged as I had been from heading from a lousy gig back to my lousy marriage, one line stuck out to me, “I’m still thankful for the blues”.

Now I still try to be thankful for the little things, even the lousy gigs are fun, and even though my marriage ended I found someone who loves and appreciates all my little insanities, so for me what came after the blues was happiness. We all know what came after the blues for Jason, but for pushing myself and other people through the hard times, the game is won

–Butch Tressel






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
The Tressels: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Bandcamp

Remembering Jason Molina: Jerry DeCicca’s Tribute

Photo by Jodi Miller

Photo by Jodi Miller

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 new 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.

In this “edition”, Jerry DeCicca from The Black Swans, writes about the time he met Jason while opening for Magnolia Electric Co. in Des Moines, Iowa. The Black Swans also covered Songs: Ohia’s “Two Blue Lights” for Farewell Transmission. You can listen to their steamy version replete with billowing lap steel and hypnotic vocals below.

Photo by Will Claytor

Photo by Will Claytor

I first met Jason when The Black Swans opened for Magnolia Electric Co. in Des Moines, Iowa in 2006. He paid for my beers as we shot pool, fist pumping when he liked a song on the jukebox, and constantly name-dropping his more famous friends the whole time. Out of nowhere, he said, “You know, I know Jeff Tweedy.” I’ll never forget that. And when I scratched on the 8 ball, he smiled and said “A win’s a win! You buy the next beer.” That night, I understood Jason was the perfect rock star: he owned every stage he stood upon and was uncomfortable in his own skin– a recipe for artistic greatness.

–Jerry David DeCicca, The Black Swans






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
The Black Swans: Website; Facebook; Twitter
Jerry DeCicca: Website; Facebook; Twitter

Remembering Jason Molina: The Avett Brothers’ Tribute

Avett Brothers for 1-2

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 new 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.

In 2009, The Avett Brothers did a few shows with Magnolia Electric Co.. As friends and fans, Jason’s work has left an indelible impression on both Scott and Seth. After Jason’s death, the band sat down backstage in Dublin, Ireland and paid tribute with “Hammer Down” in Avett Brothers fashion. They have also provided Common Folk Music with statements regarding their dear friend, Jason Molina.

Photo by Dylan Long

Photo by Dylan Long

Jason Molina wrote and sang from the same haunting and brilliant spirit that Townes Van Zandt did. His brilliance was the kind that isn’t learned but lived. We all want to be that way, beautiful simply because of who we are. Jason was. – Scott Avett

I am drawn to Jason’s music by the sheer unguardedness of it. There is no fear in his songs. They can bounce or shine or hypnotize or rock or connect you to your own darkness or joy. There is a glorious lack of ego in it; it is music for anyone with a desire for honesty in both tone and poetic verse. – Seth Avett






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
The Avett Brothers: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Youtube