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Monday, March 18, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES  
March 16, 2013
Scott Foley

As I sat down to write about this week's Episode, I came across a Facebook post from Colorado artist John Statz, noting the passing of singer-songwriter Jason Molina this past Saturday.  Curiously, I had brought along a Magnolia Electric Co. album to spin this week, but didn't get around to it.  The post on his band's website reports that Molina died at age 39 of natural causes, but had suffered from the consequences of severe alcoholism for years.  I've followed his music since his Songs:Ohia days, into his Magnolia Electric Co. albums and his solo work.  One of my most prized musical possessions is MEC's 4CD Sojourner box set.  Still, there are few more lonely sounds than Molina's solo work, his mournful voice and bare acoustic picking almost too intimate for comfortable listening, something I loved but only aired a handful of times.  Certainly the voice of a haunted man. 

As a fan of Jason Molina, Mark Kozelek, Joshua T. Pearson, J Tillman and others, I am frequently told how "depressing" some of my music is.  My usual response is to say that the only depressing music is poorly made music.  When an artist seeks to elicit genuine emotion and is successful in doing so, there's nothing depressing about it.  Jason Molina's work was in fact dark and frequently downbeat, but it was an honest expression of his psyche, and it reached the hearts of appreciative listeners.  The Magnolia Electric Co. website closes its brief piece with a lyric from Molina's "Hold On Magnolia":

Hold on, Magnolia, I hear that station bell ring
You might be holding the last light I see
Before the dark finally gets a hold of me

Hold on, Magnolia, I know what a true friend you’ve been
In my life I have had my doubts
But tonight I think I’ve worked it out with all of them
 

I'll certainly play some of Molina's music this week, both on my Thursday Morning Mix (10-noon MT at KRFC) and on R&B.  And we'll get back to writing about great new music by then, too.  Next Saturday, we'll also have 3/7 of the fine Colorado group Paper Bird in the R&B studios for a chat about their new album, Rooms

*  Cowboy Junkies, "Murder Tonight In the Trailer Park (live)"  200 More Miles  (RCA, 95)
*  Black Twig Pickers, "Rough Carpenters"  Rough Carpenters  (Thrill Jockey, 13)
*  Left Arm Tan, "69 Reasons"  Alticana  (Self, 13)
*  Bobby Bare Jr, "Sad Smile"  A Storm A Tree My Mother's Head  (Naked Albino, 10)
*  Bobby Bare, "John Hardy"  Darker Than Light  (E1, 12)
*  Paper Bird, "Blood & Bones"  Rooms  (Self, 13)   D
*  Old Crow Medicine Show, "Back Home Again"  The Song is You: Tribute to John Denver  (ATO, 13)   D
*  Kacey Musgraves, "Silver Lining"  Same Trailer Different Park  (Mercury, 13)
*  Mosey West, "Cold Prediction"  Vaca Money  (Self, 11)
*  Steve Earle, "Calico County"  Low Highway  (New West, 13)
*  Semi-Twang, "Making Everybody Cry"  The Why and the What For  (Self, 13)
*  Mount Moriah, "Younger Days"  Miracle Temple  (Merge, 13)
*  Derailers, "Guaranteed To Satisfy"  Guaranteed To Satisfy  (Palo Duro, 08)
*  Ben Hanna, "Every Time That You're Near Me"  We Were All Like Whatever  (Self, 13)
*  David Ramirez, "The Bad Days"  The Rooster  (Self, 13)   D
*  Fifth On the Floor, "Burnin' Nashville Down"  Ashes & Angels  (Self, 13)   D
*  Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, "Sinners & Saints"  Sinners & Saints  (Self, 10)
*  Alison Krauss, "Good Love After Bad"  Unsung Hero: Tribute To Ron Davies  (Little Chickadee, 13)
*  Shooter Jennings, "Wild & Lonesome"  Other Life  (eOne, 13)
*  Elizabeth Cook, "These Men of God"  Gospel Plow  (Thirty One Tigers, 12)
*  Replacements, "I'm Not Sayin'"  Songs For Slim  (New West, 13)   D
*  Annie Keating, "Right By You"  For Keeps  (Self, 13)
*  Black Lillies, "All This Living"  Runaway Freeway Blues  (Self, 13)   D
*  Mekons, "Lost Highway"  Fear & Whiskey  (Quarterstick, 85)
*  John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range, "It's Not OK"  Daylight  (Self, 13)
*  Phil Lee, "Everytime"  Fall & Further Decline of the Mighty King of Love  (Palookaville, 13)

1 comment:

The Longest Day of the Year said...

I love that Ben Hanna CD! Thanks for giving him a spin!