Songs: Ohia is one man, Jason Molina, a tenor guitar-wielding songwriter from
the shores of Lake Erie. Critics often compare Songs: Ohia to Palace/Will
Oldham, and while sonically the comparison is valid, Molina's ardent,
soul-searching lyrics are more aptly compared to Neil Young or Leonard Cohen.
Molina was born in Lorain, OH. Growing up on a heavy dosage of Black Sabbath,
Molina began his musical career playing bass in heavy metal bands around
Cleveland. Always a songwriter, Molina eventually decided to perform and record
solo with help as needed. He developed a method of tuning his guitar that
complemented his voice and worked with his background as a bass player. Finding
his niche in indie rock circles, Molina made home recordings under the names
Songs: Albian, Songs: Radix, and Songs: Unitas to pass out at live shows.
Settling on Songs: Ohia, Molina released a single on the Palace label in 1996.
The first Songs: Ohia full-length followed in 1997; released on the Secretly
Canadian label, the self-titled album garnered critical acclaim. Songs: Ohia
continued to release full-length albums, including 1998's Impala and 1999's
Axxess & Ace, and a number of singles on various American and European labels,
and won a large following in many European countries, most notably Holland and
Germany. In 2000, Songs: Ohia released two albums, The Lioness and Ghost Tropic,
which featured musical assistance from Alasdair Roberts (Appendix Out) and Shane
Aspegren (Lullaby for the Working Class); the latter album saw Molina beginning
to incorporate ethnic musics into his compositions. After the limited edition
tour-only CD Protection Spells, Songs: Ohia released its first live set in late
2001. Documenting an Italian show from the previous year, a large part of Mi Sei
Apparso Come un Fantasma (Italian for You Come to me As A Ghost) consisted of
unreleased (and as yet untitled) songs. By this time, Jason Molina had given his
tenor guitar a rest in favor of a regular six-string instrument and had put
together a full band to back him. However, 2002?s Didn't it Rain saw Molina
working with members of neo-bluegrass outfit Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops,
achieving an almost gospel sound that was a vast departure from the dense feel
of Ghost Tropic. Constantly recording and writing new songs, Songs: Ohia
released a handful of singles and EPs in 2002, including a split EP with
Louisville's My Morning Jacket and a collaborative EP (under the name
Amalgamated Sons of Rest) with Will Oldham and Ali Roberts. Pyramid Electric Co.
and Magnolia Electric Co., originally conceived as a double album, were released
separately in early 2003. The former, a sparse solo album, was recorded with
Mike Mogis (from Lullaby for the Working Class) while the latter featured a full
band and was recorded by Steve Albini. Written by Jason Nickey
UNCUT - "The sound of a major talent gone major league."