At times, Molina made music that was so joyous it could only be described as Gospel. The way the music was arranged and the way he sang the songs, you could just tell how much love he had for life. It’s the sort of love for life that comes from knowing hard times: a sentiment reflected beautifully throughout Molina’s work.
And as powerfully as Molina expressed his joy for life in his brighter songs, his darker work expressed his sorrow with an even greater power. In these songs, he pulled back the veil of depression for all to see. He put his soul out there in a brave, vulnerable way and he did it over and over again. He lived through hell and each time he bounced back he brought with him a new batch of harrowing songs about his journey. Always haunting, always touching, and always profound, his music was — above all else — deeply human. It spoke to the core in all of us.
I immersed myself in his music immediately after seeing him open for The Avett Brothers in 2009. Seeing him live is something I will never forget and will now cherish more than any other live performance I’ve experienced. After I first started listening to his albums, I was completely amazed at how this vast body of work had been just sitting there without me knowing about it or anyone ever telling me about it for all these years. It didn’t (and still doesn’t) make sense to me that this guy’s music wasn’t heralded as some of, if not the best, American music of our time.
Unfortunately, his work didn’t strike a chord with the masses while he was alive. But I know there will come a day when it does. Like Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, Jason Molina’s music is going to find its place and get the recognition it deserves. It’s just such a fucking shame he won’t be here to see how much more beautiful the world is going to be because of it.
According to Secretly Canadian, fans can contribute to Molina’s medical fund as a memorial gift by sending money via PayPal.