Things have been quiet around Slowcoustic the last couple of weeks. The site has been getting some needed maintenance behind the scenes (that actually isn’t going that well) but it is on its way back to being on track. Just in time to say goodbye to Jason Molina. Terrible segue, I know, but I have been purposely not posting here waiting to get the site back to health while Molina slipped away due to his own. Probably the first musician that has been important to me that has passed – like losing that first family member, it is an odd feeling. I have skated through life and have had very little loss or death touch me. I am fortunate for it and I know it. I can also recognize that many indicate that ‘challenge/struggle’ and even loss is what makes you the person you are. Some have experienced more than their share and it in turn has truly defined them. Those have often had to push uphill through many a thorned bush. If we choose to hear the many stories of Molina, we know that his path was steeper than most.
I type that last statement above without knowing Jason Molina, but I was never going to know him. Even meeting him would have been a struggle if I made an effort in the last few years (when his music really came to me). I was just a guy who liked the music he made. Not all of it, but a god damn lot of it. I clearly liked the more sparse solo “electro-coustic” Molina – the Songs: Ohia moments were the highlights for me. Not known for the best singing voice, he became a vocalist that was immediately recognizable to anyone who listened to him. It was as if his voice was the thing he was singing about – it felt rough, often pained. It sounded real.
I also felt there was a secondary atmosphere to Molina’s songwriting – there was the down trodden musician yes, but there was also a “known enemy” in it as well. It was like he was self aware – he knew things were often hard and he knew he had a hand in it (like we all do, he was just man enough to admit it). I won’t speak to any sort of “addiction” that there are numerous stories about because things like that are often out of context, out of proportion and are simply one person’s view from the outside in. Everyone has their own demons, some have just had an opportunity to try and work through them in a more public setting. I fully believe that this public is better off for it. I just wish I didn’t have to let go soo soon. RIP Mr. Molina.
I wanted to leave you with a song and the last couple lines of lyrics from it. It is incredible songs like this that made me feel how I do about Molina and his music. Listen to “The Big Game Is Every Night”, an all time great.
Moon shine that white lightning light
Down on the Possums’ stage tonight
Maybe on the Man in Black
You could hold a little something back
Let his eyes adjust to the light
Rise Moon Rise above me
Show an American if really I am the snake they’re all saying
If they look up here do they see just my black tail swaying?
If I’m all fangs and all lies and all poison
If I’m really what they’re saying
I don’t want to disappoint them.
Visit http://live.magnoliaelectricco.com/ to listen to the entire Jason Molina discography while it is still up. You can contribute to Jason’s medical fund as a memorial gift by sending money via PayPal.