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 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.
It’s a cold, gray, and snowy day here and what better way to spend it than with a tribute to Jason. Read Luke Redfield discuss how Jason’s death affected him, and be sure to pick up a copy of Luke’s new album, The Cartographer.
I was having tea in Portland, with Jason’s website tabbed in my browser for better part of a week, when a news headline rocked my world.
I couldn’t believe it. Jason Molina was dead. He died while he sang to me via earbuds and a laptop. I sat motionless, gazing out a 2nd story window into a misty Oregon afternoon.
For whatever reason, his death affected me as much as anyone’s ever has. I felt his pain, his depression, his humanness, his triumphant human spirit. He was real, no gimmicks attached. There’s a true brokenness in his voice that makes him one of the most honest singers to ever step into a recording studio.
At the time of Jason’s passing, I was listening to The Magnolia Electric Co. record and immersing myself his lyrics. My producer and I had been summoning the Albini/Molina magic in studio, hoping to capture something that sounded half as good. It is, after all, the best sounding record of all time – clearly not the work of mere mortals – and my hair rises every time I hear it.
That great highway moon, the friends whom you doubt, that lonesome whistle whine…I’m transported back to Indiana, the lightning, the thunder, the fleeting beauty of Jason Molina’s tragic life.
I hope he knew how loved he was loved in his lifetime. He’ll continue to be regarded as a true original and musical genius.
Rest easy, brother. You’ll be gone but not forever. I love you.
— Luke Redfield
Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Luke Redfield: Website; Facebook; Twitter; Bandcamp