Review: Loyal fans connect with lyrics and life of Molina at Asheville show

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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molina_tribute_2014By James Harrison

Jason Molina loved Western North Carolina, and it was for that reason members of the great Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. reunited at the Mothlight Thursday to celebrate and honor the late singer’s life.

Molina, regarded by many as one of the finest, if not little-known songwriters of the past two decades, passed away in 2013 from alcohol-related organ failure. For the first time since 2009, his bandmates were touring and on stage together, making their second stop of a four-city swing in Asheville.

Appropriately, the group was billed under the name Songs: Molina.

“He loved Asheville,” guitarist Jason Groth said, referring to Molina after the group’s opening numbers, which included a churning rendition of “Farewell Transmission.” From there, bandmates played across the span of Molina’s dozen-plus albums, with loyal fans connecting at key moments and lyrics.

Four members of the band filled in for Molina’s distinctive vocal, with Groth and Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger singing the bulk of songs. Taylor also served duties as an opening act, playing from his soon-to-be released “Bad Debt” album, along with a few songs from another forthcoming record titled “Lateness of Dancers” (at least I think that’s what he said it’s called).

Between numbers, members of Songs: Molina offered brief reflections on Molina’s life, recalling moments from past tours and visits to Asheville. Additionally, they offered continual thanks throughout the night to fans who had come to hear songs for what could have possibly been the final time.

Concerts like Songs: Molina don’t roll through Asheville often. The occasion was a privilege to attend, not because the musicians came together to promote a new album or play through familiar material—but rather to acknowledge friendship they shared and the music which sprung from it.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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    1. chris March 21, 2014

      Hello, spam!

  2. Chuck January 10, 2014

    First band :

    1. chris January 10, 2014

      Thanks! They were excellent, as well.

  3. Nicholas January 10, 2014

    Such a great show. I never caught the name of the opening band though… anyone have it?

  4. chris January 10, 2014

    Brilliant show, and very moving.

  5. Orbit DVD January 10, 2014

    I realized halfway through this show that this would be the last time I would hear these songs live. The whole night was bittersweet, but I felt a sense of closure.


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