What Came Before The Blues: Jason Molina Live Session

Magnolia Electric Co./Jason Molina completists will want to check out this live session recorded sometime between the release of 2003’s classic Magnolia Electric Co. and 2005’s What Comes After The Blues. The set finds Molina doing a solo radio promo via telephone - yes, all these tracks are recorded live through the wires. The natural ache of Molina’s voice and the by-now standard lyrical themes (moons, darkness, ghosts, the blues, etc.) combined with the lo-fi sound quality of a landline makes this a truly compelling, albeit challenging, listen. It sounds much closer to the Harry Smith Anthology Of Folk Music than music written and recorded in the 21st century.

Especially of note to collectors is that none of the 11 songs recorded during this session had ever seen proper release at the time. “Leave The City” and “Hammer Down” would soon be highlights of What Comes After the Blues, and many others would later populate Fading Trails and the Sojourner box set. This session shows that after solidifying his band’s line-up for the first time Jason Molina was writing at such a prolific rate that the band couldn’t keep pace on the commercial side (hence the 4-disc Sojourner to catch up).

They all sound great (in performance), but take a listen to “Whippoorwill” especially, which between this version and the demo version from Magnolia Electric Co. (will be posted later in the week, stay tuned) has become one of my very favorite Molina tracks:

Still waiting for you to sing that song again
The one you were singing at the very fall of man
It ain’t Hallelujah but it might as well have been…

MP3 :: Texas 71
MP3 :: Lonesome Valley
MP3 :: Hammer Down
MP3 :: Trouble In Mind
MP3 :: Down The Wrong Road Both Ways
MP3 :: Don’t Fade On Me
MP3 :: Leave The City
MP3 :: What Comes After The Blues
MP3 :: Nashville Moon
MP3 :: Down On The Bowery
MP3 :: Whippoorwill

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