Posts Tagged ‘ Magnolia Electric Co. ’

Songs: Molina: September 8, 2017 Hopscotch Music Festival (Raleigh, NC)

October 12, 2017

After attending one of the four 2014 Jason Molina tributes put on by his former bandmates and special guests, I wasn’t sure whether the tradition would continue. Thankfully, many of those same former Magnolia Electric Co. bandmates (as well as Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger) were on hand for this extremely special evening at Hopscotch Music Festival (you can see the full lineup of people below). It’s not possible to replicate what Molina had, that injured moan of a voice with such depth behind it, but as these folks have proven, it is possible for his indelible songwriting to live on through others. Molina was much more than a performer or songwriter; he was a poet of the human condition and a penetrating chronicler of his own struggles.

Though a different vibe than the intimate Hideout in Chicago, this set established its own tension between celebration and mourning. Each musician onstage was connected with Molina in some way, and the set spanned several of Molina’s projects, from Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. to his solo work. No matter what flavor or style of Molina’s work you enjoyed most, there was something for you, from the countrified “Old Black Hen” and “Hope Dies Last” to more rocking numbers like “Hot Black Silk” and the “The Dark Don’t Hide It.” But as is so often the case for me personally, it was the two closing songs from 2003’s landmark Magnolia Electric Co. that got to me most — the impeccable, powerful statement of endurance and resurrection that is “Farewell Transmission,” followed by the elegiac “Hold On Magnolia,” an anticipation of an eventual end, abetted by its desperate plea to hold on a bit longer. Molina’s music is eternal, whether or not it continues to be performed live, but my hope is that it continues to be, by this cast of characters or a similar one. He was a singular presence in music, worthy of paragraphs (and indeed, an excellent bio). But really, his music speaks for itself. So go enjoy it.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones from the floor, together with a soundboard feed. The sound quality is excellent. Enjoy!

Download the complete show from its Live Music Archive page: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Songs: Molina
Hopscotch Music Festival
Fletcher Opera Theater
Raleigh, NC USA

Recorded and produced by acidjack for

Schoeps MK4V (LOC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA + Soundboard>>Zoom F8 (24/48 WAV files)>Adobe Audition CC (align, mix down, compression)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:37:54]
01 Whip-Poor-Will
02 Hammer Down
03 Just Be Simple
04 Old Black Hen
05 O! Grace
06 North Star
07 Cross the Road
08 [banter1]
09 Leave the City
10 Alone With the Owl
11 Hard to Love A Man
12 Shenandoah
13 What Comes After the Blues
14 Hope Dies Last
15 31 Seasons In the Minor Leagues
16 Northstar Blues
17 The Dark Don’t Hide It
18 Two Blue Lights
19 Hot Black Silk
20 Lioness
21 [banter2]
22 Farewell Transmission
23 Hold On Magnolia

Wallace Cochran – vocals
Jason Evans Groth – guitar and vocals
Skylar Gudasz – vocals
Michael Kapinus – keyboard and vocals
Joseph O’Connell – guitar, bass, vocals
Mark Rice – drums and vocals
Pete Schreiner – bass, guitar, vocals
MC Taylor – vocals and guitar
Casey Toll – bass

If you enjoyed this recording, you ought to purchase the music by many of these fine musicians, including Songs: OhiaMagnolia Electric Co., Hiss Golden Messenger.

M.C. Taylor & Friends: January 18, 2015 NARAL NC Benefit, The Pinhook (Durham, NC) – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

February 27, 2015

[Screen shot from this YouTube video by Dan Schram]


M.C. Taylor, aka Hiss Golden Messenger, had a hell of a 2014. Among his accomplishments — signing with Merge Records, who released Lateness of Dancers to critical acclaim; appearing on Letterman; touring the U.S. and Europe extensively; serving as de facto lead vocalist for the Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. tribute shows in honor of Jason Molina; and producing and appearing on Alice Gerrard‘s Grammy-nominated Follow the Music. After being everywhere in 2014, Taylor inaugurated 2015 back on his home turf, with an extravaganza of a show that combined a bunch of his recent activities into one wild ride of an evening. As Hiss Golden Messenger now tours as a full unit, Taylor decided to bill this as “M.C. Taylor and Friends” rather than the band name; the night’s main lineup included some, but not all, of HGM’s touring component. This special show was a benefit for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, who have been leading the ongoing fight for choice in North Carolina.

After kicking off with a couple of Poor Moon classics, the “friends” started to come out in force. Gerrard joined Taylor for three numbers, including a cover of Merle Haggard’s “You Take Me For Granted”. Then it was Phil Cook‘s chance at the vocal mike, a turnabout from his normal role in HGM. The lucky crowd then got a second look at Taylor’s collaboration on the Songs: Ohia / Magnolia Electric Co. material, which was first debuted in the Triangle last January. Magnolia Electric Co.’s Jason Groth came up onstage for those three songs, including perhaps Molina’s finest number, “Final Transmission.” Then it was back to HGM for a bit, until the night’s final number, Taylor’s first known cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” shown on the video above.

This performance was recorded by my friend and prolific Triangle-area recordist Dan Schram, whose video is showing below. Dan kindly provided me the audio files, to which I applied a little additional mastering and mixing “sparkle”. The sound quality is outstanding. We hope you enjoy it, and more importantly, that you will support the cause for which the music was made, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

Download the complete show: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream and download individual tracks:

Watch “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” on YouTube:

M.C.Taylor and Friends
NARAL NC Benefit
The Pinhook
Durham, NC USA

Recorded by Dan Schram
Produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Rode NT5>Tascam DR-680>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, compression, reverb on SBD)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, imaging)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 [intro]
02 Call Him Daylight [Hiss Golden Messenger]
03 [banter1]
04 Blue Country Mystic [Hiss Golden Messenger]
05 [banter2]
06 Get Up and Do Right [Alice Gerrard]*
07 [banter3]
08 Follow the Music [Alice Gerrard]*
09 You Take Me For Granted [Merle Haggard]*
10 If I Play With Fire [Alice Gerrard]*
11 [banter4]
12 Leave It There [Charles A. Tindley]
13 Ain’t It Sweet [Phil Cook]&
14 [banter5]
15 What Comes After the Blues [Magnolia Electric Co.]^
16 [banter6]
17 Talk To Me Devin, Again [Magnolia Electric Co.]^
18 Farewell Transmission [Songs: Ohia]^
19 [banter7]
20 Southern Grammar [Hiss Golden Messenger]
21 [encore break]
22 Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door [Bob Dylan]

M.C. Taylor – vocals, guitar
Kyle Keegan – drums
Brad Cook – bass
Matt Douglas – saxophone

* w/ Alice Gerrard – vocals
& w/ Phil Cook – vocals, guitar
^ w/ Jason Groth

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. You can buy Hiss Golden Messenger’s records from Paradise of Bachelors and Merge Records, as well as HGM’s online store.

Songs: Ohia & Magnolia Electric Co.: Jason Molina Tribute at The Hideout (Chicago, IL) – FLAC/MP3/Full Set Streaming

January 13, 2014

[Photos by acidjack]

An artist who is great does not go quietly. Long after he is gone, his echo will expand into new ears, carry forth his vision and provide inspiration and hope.

Jason Molina was special. I didn’t know him, but you’d have to be tone-deaf to the English language not to recognize the talent in every line he wrote. In the best tradition of song, his sung poetry managed to be both personal and universal. Molina’s words were often dark, but their beauty leavened their ache.

Molina made music under several names, but the two most permanent and best-known were Songs: Ohia, which lasted until a new roster became Magnolia Electric Co. in 2003. While none would dispute that Molina was the animating creative force behind both, he wasn’t alone. In tribute to Molina and his deep well of songs, the members of Magnolia Electric Co. performed a mini-tour this January that sent them to Durham and Asheville, NC, Indianapolis and, finally, Chicago. For the first three dates, Mike “Hiss Golden Messenger” Taylor handled the bulk of lead vocal duties. But this final show of the four-date tour, at The Hideout in Chicago, gave us something else entirely. What we got were more than two hours of Jason’s songs performed by two very serious rock and roll bands that were headless, in a sense, but heartless in none, joined by a cadre of special guests.

For the first set, the Songs: Ohia lineup shared vocal duties among themselves as well as country great Lawrence Peters for two numbers. On a searing rendition of “The Big Game Is Every Night”, Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen (formerly of Silkworm, now of Bottomless Pit) added guitars and vocals. Compared to the sprawling Magnolia Electric Co. set that was to come, the seven song Songs: Ohia set was brief, but it was no less memorable. People remember Molina’s words as nuanced and vulnerable, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t make music that was loud. What you realized as Songs: Ohia closed their set with “The Black Crow”, featuring guitar pyrotechnics that could shake a venue ten times the Hideout’s size, was that Molina’s brand of ragged modern blues could make an emotional impact at any volume.

Magnolia Electric Co. took the stage with the deep melancholy of “Whip-Poor-Will”, followed by Taylor handling vocals on the harder-rocking “Hammer Down”. From there, a host of guest vocalists and players cycled through, including Peters, Midyett and Cohen reprising their earlier roles, plus David Vandervelde and Joseph “Elephant Micah” O’Connell. It quickly became clear that the 80-minute format of the previous shows would be ignored as the band pulled out tune after tune, relying at some points on lyric sheets (“This song’s got a lot of fuckin’ words!” Peters said of “Shenandoah”) but never lacking the passion to honor the material. Perhaps the most Molina-esque vocal turn came from among one of his own bands, drummer Mark Rice, who gave a stunning take on “The Lioness”. That said, making a list of highlights would be impossible, as each new song offered a new take on yet another Molina classic.

The crowd’s largest response came to perhaps Molina’s best-known song (and inarguably one of his best), “Farewell Transmission”. In that song, Molina sings that the real truth about it is that no one gets it right, but we’re all supposed to try. Well, if Jason could have heard his former bandmates and friends on this night, I think he would agree that they got it right. And they proved another piece of truth from that great song, that he will be gone, but not forever. Because the real truth about it is, a great artist like Jason Molina doesn’t die, he just changes shape. In our hearts and minds, he is forever.

I recorded this set with the kind assistance (not to mention outstanding house mix) of The Hideout engineer Joey King, together with Schoeps MK4V microphones. While no recording can quite capture the emotion present in the room, this is certainly an outstanding representation of the sound. I hope you enjoy it. Also, the bulk of the Molina canon is in print or has been reissued in LP and other formats on Secretly Canadian (including the 10th anniversary reissue of the seminal Magnolia Electric Co. record). You owe it to yourself to buy them.

Thanks to Seth Dodson and Joey King of The Hideout, the members of Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia, and Mike Taylor.  Please let me know if any of my information about personnel is incorrect or incomplete.

Stream Songs: Ohia playing “The Black Crow”

Stream Magnolia Electric Co. playing “Farewell Transmission”

Download the complete show (both sets): [MP3] | [FLAC]
If either link has stopped working, please use the links below.

Download individual set downloads from the Live Music Archive:
Songs: Ohia: [MP3] | [FLAC]
Magnolia Electric Co.: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete Songs: Ohia set:

Stream the complete Magnolia Electric Co. set:


Songs: Ohia
The Hideout
Chicago, IL

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard (engineer: Joey King)>>Roland R-26>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 46:27]
01 Are We Getting Any Closer
02 Constant Change
03 Almost Was Good Enough
04 Just Be Simple *
05 [banter]
06 The Old Black Hen *
07 [banter2]
08 The Big Game Is Every Night $
09 [banter3 – Tribute to Jason]
10 The Black Crow

* with Lawrence Peters on vocals
$ with Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen on vocals/guitar


Magnolia Electric Co.
The Hideout
Chicago, IL

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK4V>KC5>CMC6 + Soundboard (engineer: Joey)>>Roland R-26>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:37:51]
01 Whip-Poor-Will
02 Hammer Down ^
03 The Dark Don’t Hide It *
04 Talk To Me Devil, Again *
05 [banter]
06 North Star
07 Bowery @
08 O! Grace
09 What Comes After the Blues ^
10 [banter2]
11 Lonesome Valley ^
12 Leave the City
13 Northstar Blues %
14 [banter3]
15 Shenandoah %
16 [banter4]
17 Memphis Moon !
18 [banter5]
19 The Lioness &
20 I’ve Been Riding With the Ghost ^
21 [banter6]
22 John Henry Split My Heart
23 Farewell Transmission %
24 [banter7]
25 Hold On Magnolia ^

*Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen of Bottomless Pit/Silkworm
! with David Vandervelde on vocals
& Mark Rice on vocals
% Lawrence Peters on vocals
^ Mike Taylor on vocals
@ Joe “Elephant Micah” O’Connell on vocals

If you enjoyed this recording, you ought to purchase the music by many of these fine musicians, including Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co., Hiss Golden Messenger, Lawrence Peters, Bottomless Pit, David Vandervelde, and Elephant Micah.


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