Indie University: Jason Molina - Indie Vinyl Den

Indie University: Jason Molina

Jason Molina - was a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Oberlin, Ohio. Molina was a master of blending genres, seamlessly melding folk, rock, and country into a sound uniquely his own. Before the rise of bands such as Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers, who rode the wave of a folk-rock revival to achieve mainstream success, Mr. Molina was crafting simplistic songs that focused on heartbreak from the 19th century, the hopelessness of blue-collar workers, as well as loneliness, inclement weather, and damaged landscapes in a Midwest that was fading away. He first burst onto the scene in 1996 with his band Songs: Ohia, which quickly gained critical acclaim for their experimental take on traditional folk music.

In 1999, Molina embarked on a solo career with the release of his album "Axxess & Ace." This album showcased his introspective and emotive songwriting style, which would become a hallmark of his work. But Molina was not content to rest on his laurels. Over the years, his music continued to evolve, with his later albums taking on a heavier, rock-oriented sound. In 2003 he renamed the band Magnolia Electric Co. and continued to release solo work.

From 2009-2013 tour cancellations due to "health issues" and later sparse updates from family and bandmates filled the void. The public did not know about the alcoholism he struggled with, but by 2009 it became apparent to close friends what had already been evident by his bandmates for years. Jason Molina passed away on March 16, 2013, at 39, due to complications from the disease. His death was a tragic loss to the music world, but his legacy lives on through his powerful and passionate music. Molina's songs resonate with audiences today, and his influence can be heard in the work of countless artists who have followed in his footsteps. Rest in peace, Jason Molina.

Jason Molina - a timeline

  • 1973: Jason Molina was born on December 30 in Oberlin (Lorain), Ohio, United States.
  • 1996: Jason Molina forms the band Songs: Ohia in Chicago, Illinois. Their debut album, "Songs: Ohia," is released later that year.
  • 1997: The second Songs: Ohia album, "Hecla & Griper," is released. The album features collaborations with members of the band Red Red Meat.
  • 1998: Songs: Ohia releases their third album, "Impala," which departs from their earlier folk-oriented sound.
  • 1999: Molina releases his first solo album, "Axxess & Ace," under his name. He also continues to perform and record with Songs: Ohia.
  • 2000: Songs: Ohia's fifth album, "The Lioness," is released. The album features guest appearances from members of the band Will Oldham and The Palace Brothers.
  • 2002: Molina releases a collaborative album with Will Johnson of the band Centro-matic, titled "Molina and Johnson." Songs: Ohia's seventh album, "Didn't It Rain," is also released.
  • 2003: Molina releases his second solo album, "Pyramid Electric Co." under his name. Songs: Ohia's eighth album, "The Magnolia Electric Co.", is also released.
  • 2004: Molina collaborates with guitarist and producer Steve Albini on an album called "Electric Magnolia Co." It is later reissued as "Trials & Errors."
  • 2005: Molina releases a solo EP titled "Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go." Songs: Ohia's final album, "The Ghost," is also released.
  • 2006: Molina forms a new band called Magnolia Electric Co., which includes members of Songs: Ohia and new members. Their debut album, "Fading Trails," is released.
  • 2009: Magnolia Electric Co. releases their final album, "Josephine." The band disbanded later that year.
  • 2012: Jason Molina died on March 16, at 39, due to complications from alcoholism. A tribute album, "Weary Engine Blues," is later released in his honor.
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