Updated: Jun 21
I have been coping with COVID during the last week and I must admit that it was one of the "best" things that have happened to me in the last months since it allowed me time to step back and focus more on recreational activities like reading and listening to music. During my sickness and recovery time, I have spent a lot of time listening to Jason Molina and I have decided to dedicate a post about my 3 most loved albums from his Songs: Ohia releases.
Didn't It Rain (2002)
The 2002 Songs: Ohia's album happens to be also my favourite one. Taking its name from the traditional song popularised by Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1948 and Mahalia Jackson in 1954 (even though no cover version is included in the album) and having been recorded live in a single room, without overdubs but with the musicians creating their parts on-the -fly, is a masterpiece of dark, melancholic blues. The word Blue/Blues appears as motif in several of the songs (there is even a track titled Steve Albini's Blues, a cooperation that would materialise in the next Songs: Ohia release) setting the tone for one of the most definitive albums in the American music history.
Favourite Track : Blue Factory Flame, Blue Chicago Moon
The Lioness (2002)
To begin with, I was very surprised that Songs: Ohia albums are only partially available in Bandcamp with The Lioness not being available at all ! Nevertheless, a YouTube link can be used to do justice to this great album as well, I assume...
The Lioness, is my second most loved Songs: Ohia release and this is again due to its dark and melancholic mood. The songs are more "electric" compared to Didn't It Rain and even some gothic elements (Being in Love) are present. This was the first (chronologically) masterpiece in the Songs: Ohia catalogue...
Favourite Tracks : Tigress, Lioness
Magnolia Electric Co. (2003)
Unpopular choice, but the last (for many) Songs:Ohia album (or the debut of Magnolia Electric Co. for others) finds the "lowest" place in my top-3.
Being the most "electric" and accessible album (this pretty much owed to the pre "announced" in Didn't It Rain cooperation with/production by Steve Albini) is an optimistic and an extrovert statement of change. For many it is Molina's hallmark release however imho Albini "cleaned up" the melancholy elements from their sound a bit too much. This does not however change the fact that many folk rock artists would have killed to have recorded such a masterpiece...
Favourite Track : Peoria Lunch Box Blues, Hold On Magnolia