Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co. at the Motorco Music Hall

WikiCommons / Magnolia Electric Co.

WikiCommons / Magnolia Electric Co.

Emily Cramton
Staff Writer

On Wednesday, June 21, a small tour comprised of members of the original Magnolia Electric Co. will be stopping by the Motorco Music Hall in Durham for a memorial concert. Performing from Jason Molina’s extensive musical catalogue, the tour coincides with the release of Molina’s authorized biography.

Jason Molina was an American musician based out of Ohio, and he came into prominence with his longtime project entitled Songs: Ohia. Within this project, Molina was the foundation and center, and he featured many other rotating musicians on his albums and tours. Formed in 1996, the band had an ever-changing sound, as expected from a group with only one stable, permanent member.

Between 1996 and 2003, Songs: Ohia released multiple albums in collaboration with various producers and musical artists. Their 2003 record, entitled “Magnolia Electric Co.,” sparked a change.

Recorded live in studio with sound engineer Steve Albini, this album has more of a straightforward rock sound and vibe compared to its predecessors. While on tour for the record “Magnolia Electric Co.,” Molina announced that their band, Songs: Ohia, would become Magnolia Electric Co. By renaming the band after this landmark album, Molina would retain the musical style and further the direction of the album in the future.

Until 2009, the band was active and touring, and Jason Molina was also releasing solo material under his own name. However, in 2009, Molina’s struggles with alcoholism began to take precedence in his life until his unfortunate death in 2013 at age 39.

To commemorate the tragic loss of Molina and to celebrate his life, bandmates and dozens of others joined together in Indiana for a full day of revelry based around his music. This event was extremely touching and meaningful for those who took part in it, and they decided to gather everyone together again the next year, this time in Chicago.

This series of memorial events and subsequent bonding inspired the Songs Molina: A Memorial Electric Co. group, comprised of the original members of the Magnolia Electric Co. band.

This group has performed a series of memorial concerts in the years since Jason Molina’s death, and this particular mini-tour is sparked by the release of “Jason Molina: Riding with the Ghost,” a biography and critical examination of the musician’s life as written by Erin Osmon.

This biography traces the entirety of Molina’s life, from his childhood in Ohio to his tumultuous relationship with alcohol that eventually took control. It splits his life into musical periods. Included are his first high school punk band, his solo career, and his last days leading and performing with the Magnolia Electric Co.

Intended for music fans of all preferences, this book aims to not only discuss Molina’s life but tell the story of the “triumphs and pitfalls of a very pure artistic spirit.”

Coinciding with the publication of Molina’s biography, the Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co. Tour will celebrate the book’s release as well as Molina’s life. The five-stop tour consists of shows in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., with the Durham concert kicking off the series of concerts. Each night features special guests and Molina’s fellow musicians, offering a unique experience at each stop on the tour.

The Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co. concert at the Motorco Music Hall is sure to be a night of fond memories and beautiful music. Ticket sales and more event information are available online.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Reviews


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