The first time I heard Songs: Ohia's Magnolia Electric Company was in college somewhere, probably my dark dingy basement apartment in which the ceilings were just higher than head. I am not a tall guy. 5 foot 10 inches. Maybe. Anyway, Jason Molina's voice was a hammer in the head. That album was dark and rough. Meant to be listened to at nighttime, in the desert. It was hard not to listen to it over and over on repeat.
Fast forward a few years and I end up at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City seeing Molina and Magnolia Electric Company (the band) on Saturday night. I can say in all honesty that I have never seen a guy put so little effort into something that sounded so good. Mr. Molina barely lifts an eyebrow while singing, barely strums the guitars, and stands in the same place throughout the whole show. Disconcerting? Not at all. What comes out of that guy is simply amazing. His voice, his lyrics, and his songs are downright perfect. He still manages to personify a midnight road trip. Dressed in an army coat, a Indiana Jones hat and a mustache, one of the only times he talked throughout the show was to tell the audience how mad he was that they were making him miss the Lucinda Williams show at Irving Plaza. Genius.
He played a few songs off his latest solo album, Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go and many from his Magnolia Electric Company records. He opened with one of my absolute favorites, "Hammer Down", from the painfully underrated What Comes After The Blues , which was a fine treat for me. If you're not yet a fan of this guy or haven't seen him live, go quick. His tour is just about over. Lucky Canadians.
Photo By Daniel Arnold