What Comes After the Blues

I heard the North Star saying

Kid you're so lost even I can't bring you home
 - North Start by Magnolia Electric Co.

I heard on Monday that Jason Molina passed away.  This news makes me sad in that remote way.  He was the most underrated song writer of the 2000's.  Between Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. he put out some of my favorite albums.  Yet, if I picked one of my friends at random, they would not know anything about these albums.  A few people are a fan of his, but for the most part he was unknown.

I spent Monday night clicking around clips on Youtube, reading the comments.  It seemed the comment areas on the Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. videos because the virtual public memorial where people left flowers and teddy bears.  If felt like other people felt the same way as I did.

Over the last week I have been listening to my favorite Magnolia Electric Co. songs.  They have all been making me feel a bit sad.  Jason Molina did a great job of tapping into that dark place.  When I was still recovering from a break up Fading Trails was released.  I still contend Don't Fade On Me is one of the greatest post break up songs of all time.

As I got older I found fewer and fewer artist that felt like they were speaking directly to me.  I stopped looking for singers who were sling about what it is like to be me.  I always thought this was part of growing up and no longer needing external forces to define myself.  When I first started to listen to Jason Molina's songs in 2005, they rung like a bell on the same frequency on as my heart.  Right away I knew that he understood how I felt in my life.  That is a feeling you can never turn away from.

Back in 2007 I saw Magnolia Electric Co. open for Son Volt at the Fillmore.  That was an amazing concert at an amazing venue.  That is the night I learned the best place to listen to a concert at the Fillmore is right under the disco ball in the middle of the room.  I remember Jason Molina seeming compact, inward focused, and powerful.  He sung and played his heart out, but there was nothing extra.  He knew he was the opening act and he did not chatter with the crowd. 

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer he died from Organ Failure as a complication of alcoholism.  I know that it is hard to say what led him down this path.  He struggled with not having health insurance.  He even asked people to donate to his Medical Fund.  This all makes me feel worse.  I have this over whelming feeling things might have gone better if he did not have to think about medical bills.  I don't know the answer to this, but this is the second time in the last few years one of my favorite artists struggled with health insurance before an untimely death.  I feel this is something we need to think about as the audience for art.

Other Write Ups:  New YorkerNPR,

My Aught Music Review of Don't Fade on Me, Three Tracks from 2005, Farewell Transmission

Go buy some of his music.  I love both Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia. You can also still contribute to his medial fund.


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