Jason Molina radio session, circa 2004 (via telephone)

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. I first came across it sometime in the Fall of 2004, but unfortunately have no recollection of where I got it from. If I downloaded it from your blog or you sent me the CD and you’re reading this right now..I‘m truly, deeply sorry for not giving you the appropriate props. Anyway, 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 super-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 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, the Sojourner boxed set, and even Josephine. What this session reveals about Molina the songwriter, perhaps more than anything else, was that after solidifying his band’s line-up for the first time he 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). Who writes songs 2 or 3 albums in advance?

The performances are all great, but the highlight for me is once again “Whip-Poor-Will“, which between this version, the just-posted demo version from Magnolia Electric Co., and the official studio version on Josephine 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 :: Whip-Poor-Will
It's "Jason Molina Week" here at PHW - more great videos and obscurities to come all week!


Nora said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been looking for it for a while. How can I buy it or download it?

brian said...


This can now be listened to here