Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Friday, October 3, 2014

What We're Reading Today: Chicago Reader's Profile of Jason Molina

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Jason Molina's death is still felt in any number of albums dropping these days and, clearly, anytime anyone lights up the stereo with his songs. His legacy continues to open up and reveal complex inner workings. This week's feature from the Chicago Reader, a massive profile of the musician, opens the story up a bit more.

Throughout Molina's discography, you can hear the dipsomaniacal yearnings of a young man from a Lorain, Ohio, trailer park. His plainspoken singing style and harrowing command of fundamental elements of humanity made for striking music. He also had a knack for harmony — and surrounded himself with similarly talented musicians.

An excerpt from the piece:
"[Jason] was large and multitudinous: commensurately inspiring and frustrating, goofy and gloomy, spontaneous and studied, generous and self-absorbed, loyal and flaky, wise and naive, trusting and paranoid, outgoing and reserved, honest and totally full of shit, and every blessed and profane thing in between," his former bandmate, Max Winter, wrote after his death. "And it's all there in his music."

Once he learned to control his commanding voice and found his way around the six-string guitar, Molina used his songs to confront the darker side of humanity. And though he struggled with his own fragility—and ultimately couldn't find his way out of the darkness—his music artfully explored the tension between the calm and the chaotic.

"He would crank his electric, but he would barely touch the strings," visual artist Will Schaff recalls. "You'd still hear tone and the chord changes. Then every once in a while he'd strum fully and this noise would come. It was such a beautiful use of dynamics—so much silence and so much crashing thunder." 
Molina's grand transition album, his masterpiece, Magnolia Electric Co. (recorded under the Songs: Ohia name), is terrific and embedded here.

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of Jason Molina, chicago Reader

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation