Jason Molina

I’m searching, but I can’t for the life of me recall how I was first exposed to the music of the late Jason Molina. I believe it was a random event that I happened to hear the song “Back on top” from the album “The Lioness.” I remember initially being somewhat put off by his voice, as I was by Neutral Milk Hotel‘s Jeff Mangum at first listen. As with Jeff though, I was quickly won over by the sheer soul being transmitted into my brain, laser-like, by Molina’s music. The lyrics, in particular, to “Back on top” had me reeling:

I’ve been thrashed by the truth of your body
I’ve been thrashed by the truth of your eyes
You looked me square in the eyes
You said don’t take but one thing to be your truth
You said don’t take but one thing to be your truth

Sad, heavy music–just the kind I like to lose myself in, especially when playing and singing songs myself. Rather than fanning the flames of sorrow and self-pity, I find that such immersion and expression cleanses me in some deep way. Anyway, for whatever reason, I purchased the tune from iTunes, but never got around to exploring the rest of the songs on the record, not to mention Molina’s full oeuvre. It was my mentor and hero, Glen Hansard, who put things right when he released an EP of Molina’s songs earlier this month. “It was triumph we once proposed” is a tribute to Molina and the friendship that sprung up between the two men over their mutual connection to the heart and soul of music. Hansard’s lovely take on Molina’s tunes inspired me this week to explore further. After listening to Hansard’s EP, I discovered a documentary on YouTube that gives a glimpse of the sweetness and intensity and sadness and wondrousness overflowing from Molina as he was immersed in the process of recording the album “Josephine”:

Then, earlier today, I learned Molina’s song, “Being in love,” and I’ve been playing and singing it with a growing urgency for the past two hours or so. Turns out the song was featured on the “Lioness” record. I should have bought it all those years ago! But then I wouldn’t be enjoying the discovery of it now, right now actually, as it plays in the background while I type these words. I will be making a purchase later on this afternoon…

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