K Recommends: “Coxcomb Red” by Songs: Ohia

I got interested in Memoir Mixtapes by a happy accident involving a tragic musician. A few months ago I saw a Twitter post about “Elegy for Jason Molina” by Andrew Jones published in Memoir Mixtapes (Vol. 6). Jones had selected “Hold on Magnolia” from the Molina canon for the playlist.

I’m a huge fan of Jason Molina/Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. I had a ring engraved years ago with the same title Jones had chosen to pair with his poem. I had also written a poem about Molina months back.

I borrowed Songs: Ohia records from a friend in 2002. There was dark poetry in those lyrics and restless guitar. I bought the earlier records and followed Molina’s music for years. I saw Jason play twice. His music stunned the crowd silent with slack-jawed respect. His guitar cried out like broken birdsong. His voice carried in the air, lost.

In 2005 I got a tattoo from the “Trials & Errors” LP back cover art by his Magnolia Electric Co. project. In the banner, I got the names of my paternal grandparents; both were very close to me and both were very long gone.

These memories, coincidences, lyrics and albums are important in my musical journey. Molina’s music provided solidarity in strange, magnificent times. That someone wrote a poem for him, had it published in Memoir Mixtapes, I heard about it and have now been a regular enthusiast and contributing writer here couldn’t have been a better path.

Jason died in 2013. I was spun around. I didn’t aim to mourn someone I didn’t know, but that music had been in my home, sat next to me, put lyrics in my throat. I couldn’t listen to his records for 3 years. His music often saved me yet it couldn’t save him. When I listened again, tears poured all over my turntable for days.

For me, it all comes back to “The Lioness” LP, where my exposure to Molina began. Despite the heartbreak inside his music, it’s basically why I ended up here at Memoir Mixtapes…

(Song recommendation by K Weber)


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