Meet Me Where We Survive

MEC

Hard to believe Jason Molina’s gone two years. No artist matters more to me. Here’s an essay I wrote the week he died.

A lot of people ask me where to start with Molina. Can’t really go wrong, but I usually point folks to the North Star Blues Session, a live set from a radio show in Belgium. It’s Molina at his rawest and most haunting.

Andrew Bryant, who put out one of my favorite records of the year, This is the Life, wrote a tribute to Molina over at Common Folk Music. Damn beautiful piece of writing.

And I just read about this book over on the Magnolia Electric Co. site and ordered it right away: Meet Me Where We Survive: Jason Molina Interviews, 1998-2002. Always good to have Molina’s words. Can’t wait for this to come in the mail. (There’s also info on a new tribute record called Through the Static and Distance.)

Last thing: Another favorite record of the year is Jake Xerxes Fussell’s s/t debut from Paradise of Bachelors. Here’s a profile I wrote of Jake over at No Depression: “The Dave Van Ronk of SEC Country.”

Hammer down, pals.

Standard

Journey On

1. The Oxford Conference for the Book starts today. Some good stuff lined up as usual. Especially pumped for Kevin Young on Thacker Mountain Radio tomorrow night.

Here’s Kevin Young talking about Book of Hours on NPR recently.

And here’s his “Ode to Ol’ Dirty Bastard,” one of my favorite poems of his.

 

2. The Southern Literary Festival starts tomorrow. Lots of good stuff lined up for that, too. I’m teaching a fiction master class on Saturday morning at 9. I’ll be talking about writing advice from Richard Price, David Milch, Don Carpenter, Flannery O’Connor, Nelson Algren, and a bunch of other stuff. The Isom Student Gender Conference is happening simultaneously, and I can’t wait for Laura Lippman’s Friday keynote: “When Harriet the Spy Grew up: Feminism and the Second Golden Age of American Crime Fiction.” And the great Megan Abbott is giving the Southern Literary Festival’s keynote right after that.

3. Here’s a damn good profile of Killer Mike from The Bitter Southerner. He has a son named Pony Boy – that’s just the best.

4. That ’80s Dylan tribute is out. Hit or miss but worth it for these tracks: Craig Finn, “Sweetheart Like You”; Built to Spill, “Jokerman”; Hannah Cohen, “Covenant Woman”; and Elvis Perkins, “Congratulations.”

5. Angel Olsen – Live on KEXP. Man.

6. Spent Saturday at The End of All Music spinning the Merge reissue of one of my all-time favorite records, Richard Buckner’s Bloomed.bloomed

7. Clay Jones made a mix for Lent Magazine.

8. Download this: The War on Drugs at the Bowery Ballroom on 3/19/14 via NYC Taper.

9. Joe Hill said this about The Fall on Twitter the other day: “In a golden age of TV, Gillian Anderson drops a steely, quietly commanding performance [. . .] to match the very best of the day.” Completely agree. Easily one of the best things I’ve watched lately. Anderson is fucking incredible. It’s streaming on Netflix.

10. Rectify is also streaming on Netflix now. One of my top two or three shows from the last few years. Ray McKinnon rules.

11. Haven’t read much Harlan Coben – this Times By the Book feature really makes me like him.

12. Shailene Woodley was goddamn brilliant in The Spectacular Now, but holy shit, this is the funniest thing I’ve read this year.

13. Got to see David Gordon-Green’s Joe at a screening here in Oxford last week. Thought it was top-notch. His best movie since George Washington. Nic Cage and Tye Sheridan were damn good, but the non-actors stole it. Just a great take on one of my favorite books.

14. Tracklist for Songs: Ohia’s Journey On: Collected Singles.

15. Tumblr bullshit.

16. Other things I’m listening to: New one from The Hold Steady, Teeth Dreams, is killer. I was pretty lukewarm on Heaven is Whenever, so I’m glad to have them back.  Paradise of Bachelors just reissued Lavender Country – So damn good. Can’t stop spinning Bob Mould’s Workbook 25 from Omnivore. Got it on CD for the bonus stuff on the second disc. Been listening to Crooked Fingers’s Dignity and Shame for the first time in a long time. Almost forgot how goddamn perfect this song is:

17. Finally watched The Counselor last night. Thought it was way better than most folks said but also felt pretty let down. Couldn’t sleep and watched West of Memphis, too. A brutal and beautiful documentary. Finished it around 3 in the morning and got into bed next to my wife and son and just held them.

 

 

Standard