Singer-songwriter Jason Molina dies aged 39

Alt-rock musician known for his work with Magnolia Electric Co and Songs:Ohia died from alcohol-related organ failure

Jason Molina, a prolific and respected cornerstone of US alt-rock for nearly two decades, has died aged 39, from organ failure owing to alcohol consumption.

Molina had been suffering health problems for some time – in 2011 his family had appealed to fans for contributions towards his treatment, in the wake of him cancelling tours. In May 2012, Molina told fans: "Treatment is good, getting to deal with a lot of things that even the music didn't want to. I have not given up because you, my friends, have not given up on me. I do still need your support however that takes shape, good vibes are worth more than you might think."

Molina was best known for his work fronting the bands Songs:Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co, with whom he recorded a total of 15 studio albums betweem 1997 and 2009, in addition to three under his own name and one with Will Johnson. His most recent album was 2012's solo album Autumn Bird Songs.

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Molina was closely associated with the label Secretly Canadian, which has become an indie powerhouse recently thanks to the success of Bon Iver. The label paid tribute: "Jason is the cornerstone of Secretly Canadian. Without him there would be no us – plain and simple. His singular, stirring body of work is the foundation upon which all else has been constructed. After hearing and falling in love with the mysterious voice on his debut single Soul in early 1996, we approached him about releasing a single on our newly formed label. For some reason he said yes. We drove from Indiana to New York to meet him in person and he handed us what would become the first of many JMo master tapes. And with the Songs:Ohia One Pronunciation of Glory 7in we were given a voice as a label."

Steve Albini, who worked several times as producer with Molina, paid tribute: "I loved hearing Jason Molina sing. He was a genius at turning a phrase and making it into something more than the words in it. Jason was almost supernaturally prolific, and several times I watched him write an album's worth of songs in a weekend, recording them on the spot. Much of his recorded output with Magnolia Electric Co is the evidence of him and the band playing his songs for the very first time. It's amazing, really, that it was any good at all, much less so touching and fully realised. Jason was a unique talent and I will miss him. My heart goes out to all his friends and family, all of you I've met have been good people who did well by Jason."


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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