Published Mar 25, 2013As reported last week, Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. leader Jason Molina tragically passed away following a battle with alcoholism. Now, some of his friends and admirers have banded together for a benefit compilation, whose proceeds will all go to Molina's family. Entitled Watery Engine Blues, it's due out April 23 through Graveface Records.
The full tracklist hasn't yet been determined, but confirmed contributors include Will Oldham, Phil Elverum, Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters songwriter Mark Kozelek, John Vanderslice, Hospital Ships, Lucas Oswald, Jonathan Meiburg, Damien Jurado, Dreamend, Brown Bird, Haunt the House, TW Walsh, Alasdair Roberts, Scout Niblett, Jeffrey Lewis, Will Johnson, the Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin, Hefner's Darren Hayman and Herman Dune.
Each of these artists has covered one of Molina's songs, while a piece of Molina's artwork serves as the album cover (and also inspired the title of Watery Engine Blues). Below, listen to Kozelek's haunting version of "It's Easier Now."
All CD copies of Watery Engine Blues come with a screen print by artist William Schaff, who designed album artwork for some of Molina's projects. The print and album are limited to 525 copies, while a digital download will also be available. Copies are available to pre-order here.
We'll leave you with Schaff's statement about this benefit project:
Back in January of this year, I received a message from a friend of Jason's, Tara Samaha. Like so many of us were, she was concerned. She was concerned for his safety, mental and physical health after receiving an alarming email. She felt he needed a map to help him through these troubled times and then asked that I make him one. I did. Sadly we were never able to land a concrete address for Jason, where we knew he would get the map. I know that he had lost things important to him over the past few years, for various reasons, so I wanted to be sure this got into his hands, and no one else. That said — sadly — the map was never delivered to him.
Upon learning of his death, the map sat in my studio; it felt cold, and now useless. A guide made for a friend who can no longer see it.
Ryan Graveface and I thought of how, thanks to folks like you, we were able to raise a considerable amount of money for Jason's medical bills through sales of the book, From Black Sheep Boys to Bill Collectors. We thought maybe there is still a way for this map to be useful. Not as it was originally intended, a map for one man, but as tool to commemorate this man, and continue to help his family, especially in such dark times as these. 100% of the profits from this print will be going to Jason Molina's family. We now have a chance to give back to the family that gave us Jason, who in turn gave us all so much.
Our love goes out to the Molina family, and to the family he built in his dusty road travels.