Remembering Jason Molina: Grand Lake Islands’ Tribute

grand-lake-islands

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.

I realize that I should be posting more often, but not-so-great things and stress at work have been happening, and they have just brought me down. So, I have been focusing all of my energy on the not-so-great things, work, family, relationships, etc. hoping that things will eventually turn the corner and head in the right directions. But, enough about me, this post is about Erik of Grand Lake Islands and his memories of Jason.

Below, Erik Emanuelson, the lead of the collective Grand Lake Islands, remembers a space and time in his life when Jason’s music helped him make sense of his own thoughts. His reflection of those lonely, dark nights can certainly be heard and felt in his haunting cover of “Alone with the Owl.”

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Writing about someone you never knew is always a challenge. My perception of Jason Molina is reflective of my own life. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to see Jason play, let alone meet him. Yet somehow, I can say without question, that his music and spirit, at least how i’ve projected them, have meant more to me than words can duly express.

One of the only redemptive aspects of Jason Molina’s tragic passing has been the way people have sort of come out of the shadows to express the way that Jason’s music at once clawed at and nurtured the most remote and personal places in our souls. In my opinion, Jason’s music is best experienced alone. Even though you can appreciate the talent of a songwriter like Jason, a complete communion with his work comes in moments of solitude, when you are both inward and open. Jason’s music reaches me like a dream; I can feel it, but can’t explain it. The feelings that his music evokes, the places that it touches are so real, but when I try to explain them my words seem to fail.

I first came across Jason’s music in college, but I gave it little attention and it sat around, largely ignored for awhile. After living in Brooklyn for three years years, my girlfriend and I decided to leave New York City and move to Portland. Portland is beautiful, but when I got here, the sweet summer was giving way to that fabled northwest gloom. I started to have substantial doubts about my life decisions. Aside from my fiance, Robin, I didn’t know anyone. I had quit my job as a teacher in New York to pursue music more whole-heartedly; it was a terrifying decision.

A few months in, the cold, lonesome reality of our decision was starting to show her teeth. I got a dead end job at a coffee shop chain a few miles from my house, and when I got out at night, I’d ride my bike or walk home. It was during these walks, lost in my own world, that I truly discovered Jason’s music. Starting with Magnolia Electric Co, I worked backwards and then forwards, hovering around Didn’t It Rain and Ghost Tropic. Jason’s high and lonesome quiver was meditative, but ominous. It was like driving down a straight highway in the dead of night, the amber lights in lonely buildings glowing even though there was no one inside. There was a comfort and a sadness in these feelings, a foreboding peace. I had given up my old life and my old coast, and moments of searching for affirmation usually left me disappointed. Yet somehow I knew that I had made the decision I needed to make.

I soon discovered a copy of Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go that I had completely forgotten I had randomly bought in New York. One day I dug it out of a stack of records and put it aside, eagerly waiting for the right moment to put it on. I waited until I had the house to myself, turned off the lights, laid on the floor, and played it loudly. In my life I cannot remember an album that carried the same impact upon my first listen. I was floored. A specter drifted across a big empty room singing, “Behind these eyes, a desert spirit”. The voice and the lyrics reflected someone who so badly wanted to give up but could not regress to apathy.

For me, nights like these were redemptive. Sitting on my floor staring at the rain-blurred lights of the West Hills, I drifted off with Jason’s records on repeat. With those records as the soundtrack to lonely nights when Robin was at work, I began to make sense of my thoughts. Slowly, my life in Portland started to take form.

It was right around this time that I heard the news of Jason’s death. I was at work, reading some blog on my break. I returned to work in a daze and relayed the news to a coworker. Her response was, “People die, get over it”. Seeing that we never really saw eye to eye, I should have anticipated her unsympathetic reaction. I didn’t take it well, and snapped back at her before retreating into a silent despondency for the remainder of my shift. It was if someone I had just come to know had been lost to me. From this point on my connection with his music grew even stronger. I read tribute after tribute, watched interviews, tried to get to the bottom of whatever had happened to him— as if it was something that could be understood. On tours with my own band, I waited until everyone was asleep in the van late and put on Songs: Ohia records and let my thoughts drift over the long, straight stretches of I-5.

As I type, I am sitting on a flight back to Portland from Boston. The piercing blues and whites of the half frozen Great Lakes loom below me. As I marvel at their harsh beauty, I think of all the time Molina must have spent around them, contemplating their vastness. Every time I meet someone with a strong lean towards Molina’s music, I feel an immediate kinship, as if that person had also gone to the same desolate mountaintop or sat silent and alone in a boat on the some peaceful midnight lake, experiencing the great polarities—beauty and loneliness, elation and sorrow.

– Erik Emanuelson, Grand Lake Islands

 

 

Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Grand Lake Islands: WebsiteBandcampFacebook; Twitter; Instagram

 

Remembering Jason Molina: Erin Osmon’s Tribute

Erin_Osmon

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 has been a while since the last Molina tribute, so I thought I’d post one while I had some downtime at work. Erin Osmon is a music and culture writer who has written about Jason and Magnolia Electric Co.. After his death, Pitchfork commissioned Erin to write “Hold On Magnolia”, a longform piece for their print publication, The Pitchfork Review, which delves into Jason’s life and the creation of his most epic album, Magnolia Electric Co.. Erin is also in the process of publishing her forthcoming book about Jason, Riding With the Ghost, which you can read an excerpt on SPIN. Erin was also kind to write a little something about Jason and the Songs:Ohia album that has has impacted her as a music writer and fan.

Photo by Noah Kalina.

Photo by Noah Kalina.

Jason Molina’s feral trill seeded itself in my consciousness in 1997, when I was 17, and the song “Cabwaylingo” (aka “Vanquisher”) traveled via mixtape from some exotic urban locale to my hometown of Evansville, IN, where the only record store was a Coconuts Music & Movies and local all ages shows were held in church basements and dilapidated biker bars. I’d been reared on the Michael Jackson, Hall & Oates, Neil Young, Beatles and Tom Petty Records my parents preferred, and like many small-town teens feeling stifled in the grips strip malls and chain diners, I swiftly “rejected” that of my parents upon learning of alternative acts such as Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, Pavement, The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Sebadoh and The Pixies.

Despite the cultural subjugation of our hometown, the teeny, insular creative community of my friends—the writers and photographers and painters and musicians—was fiery and churning, and always traveling (much to the dismay and/or ignorance of our parents) to absorb the largely Midwestern music scene we’d learned of via mixtapes from older siblings and friends in college, and mail-order catalogues from labels in Louisville, Champaign, Bloomington and Chicago. By the time my 16th year landed, I was fully hooked on the Midwest’s interpretations of punk and indie, the wild sounds wafting through my baby blue ’86 Honda Civic (aka “The Mini Fridge”) via cheap cassette rips of 7″ records and LPs.

I’d sojourned through The Palace Brothers’ ghostly indie-folk, but it wasn’t until these words poured from Molina’s mouth that I laid roots in what I estimated was the closest thing to my parent’s Neil Young and Tom Petty (which I’d always loved in secret) and the underground alters I bowed to:

“They come in sorry for the second vanquisher
To have so much to pretend
Themselves not so against
Though overtaken
This we’ll survive, surviving those
Against the smell of rope through pulley sing
There are fewer greater losses known
They have their affect they have their ransom
This will survive
You’re all I think, this thing set troublin’
It will not end without brevity
Against the smell of hope through measuring
There are fewer greater former ghosts
We have our affect we have our ransom
This we’ll survive”

It was the first time that punk and folk didn’t feel mutually exclusive, its no frills production meeting breathtaking and timeless lyricism in one transcendent swoop. It was a marriage made in heaven to my pubescent ears and writerly aspirations, and I saved what little remained of a TCBY paycheck to snag a copy of The Black Album, which I think I scored at ear X-Tacy in Louisville, though it might have been TD’s CDs and LPs in Bloomington, where I’d later move to attend Indiana University (and to be closer to the music scene where bands like The Impossible Shapes, Japonize Elephants, and The Panoply Academy held tenure in the early and experimental days of Secretly Canadian and Jagjaguwar). Turns out I’d never really know Jason, as he took off for Chicago the same year I arrived in Bloomington, but I’d get to know all of his songs. And I’d get to know his performances, where he’d mesmerize a crowd, or swiftly tell it to fuck off. He didn’t demand much, other than to work and to be heard.

Over the years I’d collect the majority of his musical output and adore much of it—Didn’t It Rain and The Magnolia Electric Co., most notably. But The Black Album and “Cabwaylingo,” with its central theme of survival amidst turmoil via beautifully cryptic Civil War imagery, would become a through line of my adult life.

“This we’ll survive” it rallied, through my roommate’s stereo, after I was laid off from my first real job in Indianapolis, IN.

“This we’ll survive” it reminded, in the midst of a horrible stint in Baltimore, MD, when the song poured out of bar speakers during my first visit to a dive called The Idle Hour.

“This we’ll survive” it insisted, through my first set of ear buds, as I was near starving and exhausted trying to carve a path to a writing career in Chicago, IL.

“This we’ll survive” it comforted, through my second (and last) car’s speakers, as I escaped the noise of a packed funeral to breathe through the overwhelming effects of the loss of my mother to pancreatic cancer in Evansville, IN.

I’m not writing a book about Jason because he died. I’m writing a book about Jason because he truly lived, unwavering and intentional, always in engaged in the creative lifecycle of song, from The Black Album to his very last days. His ethos is invariably valuable, as is the vast catalog of albums and tomes of tales he left behind.

— Erin Osmon






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

Remembering Jason Molina: William Matheny’s Tribute

WilliamMatheny

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.

As I sit at work waiting for my emails to archive, I thought now would be a good time to post a tribute … So, here we go.

William Matheny is a singer-songwriter and musician from West Virginia, and has been a member of a few local and not-so local bands — one being a little band called Southeast Engine on Misra Records. He has also been known to do his own thing, but either way you cut it, William is a talented guy doing his state proud. So, it is no wonder that he has agreed to pay tribute to a fellow songwriter and honorary Mountaineer with a few words and a terrific cover of “Just Be Simple”.

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Although I’d been peripherally aware of it since 2003 or so, I didn’t become fully immersed in the music of Jason Molina until the autumn of 2008. I had just beaten out some not particularly stiff competition to join a band from Athens, OH called Southeast Engine. The only other applicant for the position wasn’t available to play shows on Saturday nights. I could play on Saturdays and I had also just bought a van, so that may have had something do with my getting the job.

Southeast Engine had the good fortune of sharing a booking agent with Magnolia Electric Company (a steadfast captain of the stormy sea of independent rock booking named Erik Carter), but more relevant to the story at hand, my new bandmates were huge MEC/Songs: Ohia fans. It didn’t take much time in the van before I had become enamored with the songs, with Molina’s inimitable phrasing and, more than anything, with the mystery of this music.

As of this writing, the aforementioned van now has 148,646 miles on its odometer and the music of Jason Molina has been a faithful companion nearly the whole way. I have vivid memories of blasting “Farewell Transmission” while driving through the mountains of western Colorado under a bright full moon. I remember listening to “Hammer Down” on vast emptiness of I-90W somewhere in North Dakota. I remember starting every morning for months with “O! Grace.”

As an interpreter, Molina always seemed to know exactly which cards not to show, and with his deep body of work created music that is somehow both haunting and comforting in equal measure. There’s something inherently unknowable about it that hundreds of listens later I still can’t entirely put my finger on.

I’m joined on this track by Bud Carroll (drums, pedal steel), Ian Thornton (bass) and Bradley Jenkins (vocals). I chose “Just Be Simple” because it so wonderfully articulates the struggle for a satisfied mind. It might be simple, but it isn’t easy. Thanks for everything, Jason.

— William Matheny

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

Remembering Jason Molina: Lil’ BUB’s Tribute

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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 no secret that I love cats. I have more than any normal person should. You see, I have 6 of them — 3 at my house and 3 at my boyfriend’s. I did have seven, but my oldest, Miss Kitty, passed away in February at the age of fourteen. I still miss her very much. So, it isn’t any surprise when I say that the photo of Jason cradling a cat in his arms is my favorite picture. Each time I see it, it brings a smile to my face. It has also led me to ask if Jason was a cat-person. And, here is what I found out …

Bhaji

Bhaji

Jason was actually a dog person but liked all animals. However, that all changed in 2000 when Jason and his wife Darcie rescued a cat — Bhaji — from a no-kill shelter. They developed a close friendship, and, during their time together, Jason would write silly songs and draw many pictures of Bhaji. Sadly, Bhaji passed away in 2014, a year after Jason. But, Bhaji wasn’t the only cat that Jason loved. He loved all of Steve Albini’s cats, and he would have loved Lil’ BUB had they met. Their love of magic would have been an instant bond.

BUB has listed Magnolia Electric Co.’s Josephine as one of her favorite albums and her Dude was a close friend, so I asked if she would like to say a few words about him. This is what she wrote …

jason-molina-Bcat

While I never met Jason in person, I had a close spiritual and magical connection with him through the friends we’ve shared. My dude and his closest friends played with him in his band and recorded his music, so we were bonded by the magic that comes from music, love, and friendship. We are also both very small, so we had that in common too. While he may not be with us in physical form, we all know that his music lives on. But more importantly, his spirit lives on through his music, and through his friends. As a magic space cat, I am able to see and hear him all around, and I know that he is feeling better and stronger than ever. I look forward to meeting him face to face, in the future, in deep space.

— Lil’ BUB

Also, please consider donating what you can afford to Lil’ BUB’s Big Fund For The ASPCA.






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Lil’ BUB: Website; Facebook; Twitter; YouTube; Instagram; Tumblr

Remembering Jason Molina – Samantha Crain’s Tribute

Photo by Keisha Register

Photo by Keisha Register

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.

Today, singer-songwriter Samantha Crain shares a powerful tribute to Jason attesting to the strength of his influence on her music. In this brief paragraph, she vividly recalls listening to The Lioness for the first time as well as her internal and external dialogues with him during her creative process which can be heard in “For the Miner”. Samantha also provided a stark, lo-fi cover of “It’s Easier Now” from Jason’s second solo album under his name, Let It Go, Let It Go, Let It Go. It evokes Jason with its bleak beauty.

Photo by Thomas Heath

Photo by Thomas Heath

I found The Lioness in a bargain bin at Size Records in Oklahoma City when I was 17. The cover looked weird. Purple sky, palm trees. No lion. I had to get back to Shawnee and I had to pee so I grabbed it and paid the man 5 bucks. Back then, in high school, before being a touring musician that writes records had even entered my brain, I was a music loving kid with a cool car (cherry red 1967 Ford Mustang), not many friends, and a penchant for driving around–just driving around Pottawatomie and Lincoln county with no destination, burning gas and time. I got going on Interstate 40 and once I was clear of Midwest City, past the air force base, I popped the CD in my cheap blue neon glowing after market CD player in car. It was dawn, my speakers were loud, and then, I hear it. The heavy sparse chords of “The Black Crow” rang through me, filling all the dark air in the cab of the car. Then his voice, this Jason Molina guy, yelps out, sounding like he is lying on the concrete outside a gas station at night, bleeding out of a wound. For 7 minutes, this song terrified and comforted me and, ever since then, I’ve been buying Jason Molina albums, Songs: Ohia albums, and Magnolia Electric Co. records. And when I started writing songs, I began speaking to Jason through an imaginary comradery, replying to him in my own music. He has been the single most influential musician to me and I am overwhelmed with sadness at his passing. I had felt something additional in the past year while listening to his records, something different and eerie. It felt like I was hearing the music of a ghost and so, last year, I wrote “For the Miner” pleading with him “don’t go now”. Perhaps I expected too much of him. I even feel guilty in a strange way. I loved his music, his pleading voice, his jangly guitar, his winced face, and most of all his candor. I am, in a huge way, a musician because I wanted to connect with him in his own language. I will miss you Jason Molina.

— Samantha Crain



“For The Miner” (Download for free on her website)



“It’s Easier Now”



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

Remembering Jason Molina: Andrew Bryant’s Tribute

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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.

Today is the second anniversary of Jason’s death, and I couldn’t think of a more beautiful tribute than the one provided by Andrew Bryant. For those not familiar with Andrew, you may know him as the second half of the popular duo Water Liars, whose cover of “Just Be Simple” has become a staple at their live shows as well as a standout track on Farewell Transmission. Andrew also has an excellent new album out called This Is The Life. You should check it out … but, for now, let’s remember the music of Jason Molina.

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I was living in a house trailer in my home state of Mississippi in the summer of 2003, the year Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Company was released. I remember the air conditioning unit was freezing up on me and it was about 100 degrees during the day. I worked all day at a roof­truss manufacturing factory and every night I drank beer and smoked cigarettes until I fell asleep, usually laying in the floor with my head on the air duct, trying not to die. I was in a bad place that year. I had dropped out of school. I had a shit job. My girlfriend was gone. The air conditioning was on the fritz. It was hard times.

One of those summer nights, I was sitting at my computer and read something about this song called ​Hold On Magnolia. The title grabbed me. My home state of Mississippi’s official nickname is ‘The Magnolia State’. Maybe that’s what did it. Maybe not. I couldn’t really say. But I do remember hearing about that song before ever hearing the name Songs: Ohia or Jason Molina. This was the era of Myspace and Napster so I went hunting. I read about the record. I read about Songs: Ohia. I read about Jason. I found a pirate download of his new album and set it to download and went back to drinking beer and fell asleep. I know it took all night to download because it always did back then. This was before the days of hi­speed wifi. I had a dial up connection and an old ass computer­­only slightly faster than the postal service for acquiring new music. But that was my portal to a broader world in those days. And it was through that portal I found something to live for.

Music, for me, is something to live for in itself. I believe it to be the highest form of art. Put together in the right way, music helps me to transcend this often meaningless existence that the earth has thrust me into. For seven minutes and fifty­one seconds, ​Hold On Magnolia continues to baptize me with meaning and emotion every time I listen to it. Fully renewed I can face the next hour, the next night, the next day. The first time I heard that song I wept. Something in me was released. Something was begun and began again and it keeps repeating. And for that reason I can’t imagine existing all this time on this planet without the songs of Jason Molina. His songs put a bandaid on my cut­up soul. And for that I will never forsake his work.

To create an immortal existence is what I believe most humans long for. This is what religion has been trying to do for centuries, but religion has failed us and left many like me in a state of existential crisis. We have asked ourselves Why am I here? What am I? Is this all there is? And I believe this is what drives us who create art: to endlessly seek transcendence above this often meaningless journey called life, to create something that will never die. And it is for these reasons that Jason Molina will never die. Nor will I.

During that same summer, in the year 2003, I began my own process of transcendence. In that house trailer in Mississippi I began to write my own songs and record them on my computer. Shortly after I began to play shows under my own name, whenever and wherever I could. And I’ve continued to do it for the last twelve years, and I have made a life that I now find both meaningful and enjoyable, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

On Sunday August 15, 2004, Hurricane Charley was headed up the East Coast from Florida causing 10 fatalities and over 14 billion dollars in damage on its path. The Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez successfully defeated a recall vote with 58% support. Sixteen hundred Palestinians in Israeli jails began a hunger strike to protest against their prison conditions. A bomb blast killed 18 people at a parade in Dhemaji, Assam during India’s Independence Day celebrations. The Chicago White Sox defeated the Red Sox in Boston 5­4. And I drove two hours north to Memphis, TN to open for Magnolia Electric Co. at the Hi­tone on Poplar Avenue. But only one of these events has made a lasting impact on my life.

There is no grand story tell of that night really, so I won’t try. I drove up in my dark blue 1998 Mazda Protege. Did a line check. Ordered a beer and talked to Jason Groth about music and touring. I looked over my shoulder, wondering where Jason Molina was, hoping to meet him, but he was only a ghost that night. I played my set to a handful of twenty people or so, packed up my shit, then settled at the bar to watch MEC play. I would have to be at work at 7am so I was probably anxious about driving home, trying not to drink too much.

Before they took the stage, I turned and saw that Jason was standing next to me at the bar, holding a Red Stripe. He was wearing a red flannel shirt and I remember thinking he was shorter than I had imagined. I nodded at him and he returned the nod. We said nothing, and then he took the stage with the rest of his band.

I was mesmerized by their performance. The songs that I had spent the last year immersing myself in were coming to life before my eyes. And there were new songs too. I was taken out of this world and I was born into a new one. And it was a world I wanted to be in.

In the 12 years since that night, Jason Molina has grown in my mind from a small, awkward mid­westerner into a giant, confident genius. I have consistently played his records more than any other artist or band I’ve come to love since. They keep me company at home. They keep me sane when I’m on the road. His songs have become a collection of torches on my journey across the long dark blues of life. Phrases like “Hammer down, heaven bound” and “Just be simple” have become personal mantras for me. I have harmonized the lines “I ain’t lookin for that easy way out/ This whole life has been about/ trying trying trying/ To be simple again” with my one of my best friends, Justin Kinkel­Schuster, on hundreds of stages, and I have felt something deep lifting me up every time. Sure, the heartbreak of Jason’s death has suffered my soul as much as the next, but I am resurrected every time I put on his music. I am pulled back from the long dark blues everytime I hear his angelic voice vibrating in my ear like a ghost. Hammer down, my brothers. Hammer down, my sisters. Hammer down.

— Andrew Bryant, February 26, 2015






Purchase Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Andrew Bryant: Website; Facebook; Twitter
Water Liars: Website; Facebook; Twitter

Remembering Jason Molina: Ben Lubeck’s Tribute

benlubeck

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.

Ben Lubeck of Farewell Milwaukee provided a great cover of Jason’s “Leave The City” for Farewell Transmission, and has contributed a few words for this Molina remembrance project.

jasonmolina

The first time I heard Jason Molina I was with my friend Brian Kurbis. He put on Magnolia Electric Co. on a beautiful summer day and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was one of those lovely surprises in which you’re thrilled that you were let in on this new band, but at the same time disappointed that you had missed out on their music for so long. Once I got my hands on that record I couldn’t put it down. It was in my car CD player nearly the entire summer.

I remember the excitement of driving to visit my girlfriend in Omaha, a six hour drive from Minneapolis, and finally pulling into her driveway. She had gone home for the summer and I hadn’t seen her in months so naturally the anticipation was killing me. But when I pulled into her parents’ driveway, “Hold On Magnolia” came on and I sat and listened to the entire 7 minute song. It hypnotized me and ripped my heart out. Took me to a different place. Absolutely gorgeous. Jason’s music does that for me. It floors me. Makes me stop what I’m doing and really listen. Not many things can do that. I’m honored to be part of this album. The fact that I was able to interpret his song “Leave The City” is a true privilege.

— Ben Lubeck






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