Jason Molina passed away on March 16, but his contributions to music are far from over. Secretly Canadian just released the lovingly assembled 10th anniversary deluxe edition of his classic sorta-self-titled album, Magnolia Electric Co., which was originally issued under the Songs: Ohia name. Now the Bloomington, Indiana label is pulling together the musicians who worked on that 2003 set for a short run of memorial concerts also featuring Hiss Golden Messenger.
In honor of the occasion, we’ve got an exclusive gem from the reissue set to stream — “The Big Game Is Every Night,” a bewitching 10-minute sadcore epic that encompasses so much of what’s great about Molina’s work, and that period of songwriting in particular. Stream that below, and read an excerpt of the heartfelt announcement from Secretly Canadian. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find the Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co. dates.
In May of 2013, less than two months after the untimely loss of Jason Molina, his bandmates from all eras of his career – the Spineriders, Songs: Ohia, and Magnolia Electric Co – met in Bloomington, IN to pay tribute to the life and songs of their fallen brother. While the absence of Molina’s unmistakeable voice weighed heavily on the crowd of fans and friends, the power of the songs – voiced, that night, by contemporaries who had been, in one way or another, a big part of Jason’s life – shone brightly. Following in the footsteps of his idols Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, and others, Molina often wrote songs with others in mind. The Magnolia Electric Co LP features two songs – “Old Black Hen” and “Peoria Lunchbox Blues” – sung by folks Jason hand-picked to bring them to life. The bonus disc to the recent reissue features Jason singing them himself. Despite the differences in the readings of the tunes, the song rises above as the central, stirring work of art. This particular tribute happened one night in May, but the ties of those musicians, brought together by one very determined and talented man, led many of them to decide that such an event might need to happen again.
It is with the spirit of Molina’s incredible and unforgettable songwriting in mind – and the memory of his friendship and generous nature at heart – that the members of Magnolia Electric Co will hit the road for four days this coming January playing the songs of Jason Molina, from both his career in Magnolia Electric Co and Songs: Ohia. In addition to those musicians who traveled with Jason from 2002-2009, M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger – a friend of Jason’s since before his band Court and Spark toured with Magnolia in the mid-2000s – will join as another voice and guitar player for the group.
Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co tour dates:
January 8 – Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
January 9 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
January 10 – Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
January 11 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout