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 singer-songwriter Wooden Wand pays tribute to Jason and discusses an initial hesitancy toward the Songs: Ohia / Magnolia Electric Co. conversion which ultimately grew into love and respect. Wooden Wand covered “Don’t This Look Like The Dark” for Farewell Transmission and it’s one of the best tracks on the album. It’s a great cover that expertly balances the distinct sounds of both Wooden Wand and Molina.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must admit I didn’t really connect with Magnolia Electric Company’s music right away; I owned some Songs: Ohia albums that I liked, but when Molina transitioned to MEC (including the Songs:Ohia album by that name), I thought it was a little too close to outright Neil Young worship. It took a friend playing me that limited LP release, Let Me Go Let Me Go Let Me Go, for me to really understand what I’d missed. After that, I went back and re-listened to the Magnolia Electric Company album and it was like hearing it for the first time. The songs are captivating, of course, but what continues to strike me when I listen to it are the vocals. To this day I don’t think Molina receives nearly enough credit as a singer and stylist. Listen to his delivery of the line “the whole place is dark” to set the scene for the album; a million great singers could interpret that line a million different ways, but I don’t think any of them could have done it better than Molina does. As for my conversion, well, I believe it was complete the day I cashed in a Mason jar full of pennies and dimes to buy the Soujourner box set (which rules, by the way) instead of groceries. No regrets, Molina.
Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Wooden Wand: Website; Facebook; Twitter