It's been more than 5 years since Jason Molina died. In five years, with everything else I've had going on, I never really took the time to grieve--I mean, grieve as much as would be appropriate for the death of an artist who's been influential in your life in some way. When he died, I was working on a paper, or something of the sort, for some class, and, with respect to my dejection, had to just completely put it out of my head in the most unfortunate way until I could get the paper done.
Jason was pretty much radio-silent (so to speak) for a good 4-6 years prior to his death, with only random notes of recovery being sent out from his label, so I suppose it didn't come as a shock. We knew he was ill, we knew he was having health issues that were as much mental health as physical, and that he was working on things "even the music can't get to." For a man with such profoundly sad songs, that's a dark place. If you understand one of his last songs, "No Hand Was at the Wheel" as one of the most depressing songs ever written, you're on track.
I came across this performance the other day, and it just brought up those old, sad feelings. Scout sang this song on the last official Songs: Ohia album. Although written by Molina, her performance on the album is breathtakingly still in this sort of way. Scout Niblett has a certain childhood exploration-type innocence to her music, particularly within her albums, imaginative with a small set of tools. When she chooses to capture the stillness, the darkness, she owns all the air in the room and drives at the very heart of existence.
I was taken by the sadness - clearly still reeling from the loss of a friend. The way she plays the guitar here, toned to Molina's early 2000s style, makes me wonder if it's not one of his own.
No really end to this, was just startled when I heard this, realizing that I've been pretty numb to these kinds of experiences for many years.
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