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 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, I found some time to post this tribute and cover of “Blue Chicago Moon” from Thorsten Nesch. In his tribute, Thorsten talks about the lessons he learned while doing this project. In a nutshell, Jason Molina’s music is iconic and cannot be imitated or rearranged. Molina’s songs have a life of their own — each an individual character with a heartbeat and distinct emotion that cannot be and should not be altered.
I discovered him just 2013 when I clicked myself through a singer-songwriter night on different portals after starting on Slowcoustic. I took it from there, song after song, beer after beer. Finally I hit a music video on Yahoo, an elevator performance by Jason Molina, “Intimate 3voor12 session“. I got stuck. I played it again and again. Then I followed his tunes, fell in love with his songs only to find out he had recently passed away. A roller coaster night.
When I read about the tribute cover project I chose “Blue Chicago Moon“ – not able to foresee how far I would have to stretch my limited talent. Two lessons I learnt.
Lesson 1: I really wanted to play this song more different from the original version but it just didn’t work for me. I never had that before. So I decided it must be the nature of the tune, I just stay closer to its original feel.
Lesson 2: There is no way getting anywhere close to his singing.
However I hope I did him and “Blue Chicago Moon“ a little justice after playing it for two weeks every night – if not, I at least drank myself a little beer belly trying.
— Thorsten Nesch
Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Thorsten Nesch: Website; Twitter; Bandcamp