Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jason Molina is gone

Deaths of artists or celebrities or people whom I don't know personally rarely get to me, but this one did. Molina died this week from alcohol-related organ failure. He was 39 years old. I had many night caps / last cigarettes alone on my back porch to Didn't It Rain, Ghost Tropic, and Magnolia Electric Co.  There was an unmistakable drunkeness in his songs, and he knew how to keep things slow and minimal while still having this electrical intensity in everything he did, something that you only see in a few great songwriters. No one did heartbreak and existential blues as gracefully as this man did. I saw him play once in Denton but was too drunk to remember it, and how tragically ironic that is to me now.

Jason Molina spoke about a lot about ghosts and since hearing the news yesterday I can hear his ghost in the songs I'm listening to now, and his music will forever me more haunting than it was before, something I hadn't thought possible.  Didn't It Rain, especially prophetic, eerily so now after-the-fact, as it was essentially one mystically morbid serenade to death.

But of the many recurring lyrical themes present in his songs, the one which always stood out to me most, was about "trying." To try - the act of perseverance, of 'simply to live' - seemed hidden or not so hidden in many of his songs. The chorus to "Just be Simple" was the first song I ever heard of his and it has stuck with me and resonated for years.

Try and try and try.....
to be simple again.

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