As I parked at work this morning in my usual hurry, I started cramming books and laptop into my book bag only to have the sounds from my speakers wrap me up, insistently slow me down, and push me back into my seat. The story of Jason Molina came over the air from NPR and insisted on being heard.
My connection with Molina dates back to an electronic dump a music-loving buddy performed for me; laying Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, and a host of other artists onto my hard drive for burning to CDs. I remember giving a cursory listen to Molina’s project, Magnolia Electric Co., then passing over it for other more instantly appealing artists from the music dump. Yet like the story on NPR, the music demanded to be heard.
I was driving into the Valle Caldera preserve in New Mexico for a fly fishing trip out of Santa Fe when I slotted Trials and Errors by the Magnolia Electric Co. into my CD player. The music would become the soundtrack for the remainder of that trip to the Southwest, and it still takes me back to that specific time and place on subsequent listens.
Molina’s story is tragically common: tortured artist, alcohol abuse, dissolution, and eventual death at far too young of an age. The impact he’s made on music and important artists lives on, though. Many have recently paid tribute to him, releasing Farewell Tranmission: The Music of Jason Molina.