Jason Molina, the singer-songwriter best known for his work with Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., has passed away. He was 39.
Molina’s death was first reported by website Chunklet, and was later confirmed by his longtime label Secretly Canadian. Chunklet reports that it was Molina’s severe drinking problem that caused the organ failure that ended his life.
“Our friend Jason Molina passed away from natural causes on Saturday, March 16th in Indianapolis,” Secretly Canadian posted on its official Twitter account.
Molina first rose to fame in 1996 when he released the album “Nor Cease Thou Never Now” under the name Songs: Ohia. He continued to do perform as Songs: Ohia until his album “Magnolia Electric Co.” came out in 2003, when he announced he would change his band name to Magnolia Electric Co. Molina continued to tour until late 2009, when health problems caused by his alcoholism forced him to leave the spotlight.
The Magnolia Electric Co. website released an official statement as well. It reads:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Jason Andrew Molina passed away in his home in Indianapolis this past Saturday, March 16th of natural causes at age 39. Jason was a world class musician, songwriter & recording artist. He was also a beloved friend. He first caught international attention in 1996 when he began releasing albums under the name Songs: Ohia. In 2003 he started the band Magnolia Electric Co. Between those two bands he released over a dozen critically-acclaimed albums and — starting in 1997 — he toured the world every year until he had to stop in 2009 to deal with severe alcoholism. Jason was incredibly humbled by his fans’ support through the years and said that the two most important words he could ever say are ‘Thank you.’
This is especially hard for us to share. 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 7″ we were given a voice as a label. The subsequent self-titled debut was often referred to by fans as The Black Album. Each Songs: Ohia album to follow proved a new, haunting thesis statement from a prodigal songwriter whose voice and soul burned far beyond that of the average twenty-something. There was organ-laced, sepia-toned econimica (1998’s Impala) and charred-hearted, free form balladry (1999’s Axxess and Ace). There were the dark glacial make-out epics of 2000’s The Lioness and the jungle incantations of 2000’s Ghost Tropic. There was the career-defining agnostic’s gospel of 2002’s Didn’t It Rain, an album about setting roots that also seemed to offer solace to a world that had recently seen its bar on terror raised. It was followed in 2003 by a thrilling about-face, the instant classic Magnolia Electric Co., which took Jason’s songwriting to ’70s classic rock heights. The move was such a powerful moment for Molina that Magnolia Electric Co. became the new moniker under which would perform until 2009. With Magnolia Electric Co., Jason found a brotherhood in his bandmates, with whom he built an incredible live experience and made a truly classic album in Josephine (2009).
We’re going to miss Jason. He was generous. He was a one of a kind. And he had a voice unlike any other.
Fans can contribute to Jason’s medical fund as a memorial gift by sending money via PayPal.”