“Just Be Simple” is another Songs: Ohia track from the Magnolia Electric Company album. Jason Molina delivers the words with such melancholy, even in the sound of his guitar. It’s like a mantra: Just be simple again. Just be simple again. Just be simple again. Simple like when? Like when? Simple like a child? Simple like a young man? Like a boy? Boys worry too, and so do children. Simple like when everyone was alive? It wasn’t simple, but it was better.
This week was the anniversary of Jason Molina’s tragic, untimely death. Molina wrote and performed many great songs. He recorded Magnolia Electric Company as a member of the band Songs: Ohia, and it is a fine album, sorrowful and melancholic. Molina had a lot of problems and great gifts. Do these things go together?
I heard Daniel Ralston memorialize Molina on the Low Times podcast, a great series when it was alive for a few years. He, Maggie Serota, and Tom Scharpling interviewed dozens of musicians as hosts of the podcast, and I always looked forward to learning about new bands. I could always rely on Low Times for great recommendations. I learned about Danielson, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kevin Devine, and Matt Pond from Low Times. Daniel Ralston talked about Jason Molina and Magnolia Electric Company. I had never heard of them. Ralston’s recommendation was so earnest that I bought it immediately. Honestly, I did not like it at all at first. I shelved it.
I am not sure why, but after Miles died I gave it another shot, and it spoke to me. I’ve listened to it many times, and I have listened to “Farewell Transmission” on its own many more times. It is pretty easy to know why, if you know.