Archive for the ‘will johnson’ tag
Centro-matic’s Will Johnson, The Black Swans, Water Liars, Wooden Wand Featured on Jason Molina Tribute with Memorial Electric Co, Bottomless Pit, My Morning Jacket, etc., Streaming on NPR
NPR First Listen is streaming “Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina”. The album is a compilation of covers, featuring Centro-matic’s Will Johnson, The Black Swans, Water Liars, and Wooden Wand. Also included on the compilation are Memorial Electric Co., Bottomless Pit, My Morning Jacket, Catherine Irwin, and much more.
Here is the description via NPR:
“Jason Molina never sang to — or for — the many. The singer-songwriter, who died last year at 39, gave voice to despair and solitude, and to a lonely pursuit of the comfort and strength necessary to face each day. Whether he performed as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co or Jason Molina, his big, yearning voice encountered only a small but intense cult following that heard in him a crucial combination of fatalism and fighting spirit.
Like many whose fan bases run narrow but deep, Molina was widely beloved by musicians; anyone who’s ever tried to channel the blues would know how pure his were. Within the last year, Molina has already inspired two double-length tribute albums, each intended to help his family and spread word of his work. Both, while naturally uneven in execution, nicely convey the sturdiness of Molina’s songcraft — not to mention his considerable gift for quotable melancholy.
Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina is the newer of the two collections — the other is last year’s Weary Engine Blues — with proceeds split between the singer’s family and a charity called MusiCares, which battles Molina’s twin demons of alcoholism and depression. In 27 songs and just less than two hours, it provides a fine overview of the singer’s best-known work, highlighted by My Morning Jacket’s suitably epic take on the title track.
Given the reverence in which Molina’s work is held, it’s no surprise that Farewell Transmission rarely strays far from the singer’s original intentions, though it’s intriguing to hear Squares recast the almost impossibly desolate “Get Out Get Out Get Out” as a bold rock song. Molina’s former bandmates even come together as Memorial Electric Company to perform a new track, “Arm in Arm,” as well as to tackle the unrecorded Molina song “Trouble in Mind (Fade to Blue).” Between the incredible source material and a fine assortment of contributors — including Sarah Jaffe, Murder by Death, Catherine Irwin, Wooden Wand and another past Molina collaborator, Will Johnson of Centro-Matic — Farewell Transmission marks a fine way to both celebrate a great career and mourn a man for whom mournfulness was stitched into the fabric of his art.”
Centro-matic Turns 15
Upon their 15th anniversary, Centro-matic posted the following:
Fifteen years ago, four younger gentlemen traveled to Millstadt, Illinois for the purpose of recording a heap of songs at the Son Volt practice space. These younger men were situated there for about two months. Those recordings became the albums, Navigational, Static vs the Strings. Vol.1, and All the Falsest Hearts Can Try. None of them had cell phones. And Napster was brand new. A simpleton’s dream.
Here are a list of albums that were fifteen years old in 1998:
The Police Synchronicity
Def Leppard Pyromania
Minutemen What Makes a Man Start Fires
The Stranglers Feline
ZZ Top Eliminator
Tears For Fears The Hurting
Minor Threat Out Of Step
New Order Power, Corruption and Lies
The Fixx Reach the Beach
The Replacements Hootenanny
Misra has had the honor of releasing eight Centro-matic-related projects (some by South San Gabriel and Will Johnson) in the label’s tenure. We are proud of those albums.
Will Johnson Baseball Paintings
In addition to playing music, Centro-matic front-man Will Johnson also makes baseball paintings. Will Johnson has a new series of small art prints available now. Head to the Centro-matic site to get yours.
All prints are 6″x9″
Each one signed and numbered by Will Johnson.
Complete sets have matching numbers.
Printed on 100lb card stock
Only 100 copies were made of each print.
No re-prints will be made.
Included in this series:
Old Busch Stadium / St. Louis, MO
Old Tiger Stadium / Detroit, MI
Kokernot Field / Alpine, TX
Burnett Field / Oak Cliff, TX
Steel Arm Taylor
Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel) recently released a record with David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones) and Matt & Bubba Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year). The foursome is going under the moniker Overseas and recently released their debut record with the fine folks of Under Music Collective. Here [here] for more information, forthcoming tour dates and to purchase the new record. Yea!
SHOWS • Centro-matic, Jerry David DeCicca (Black Swans), Monahans, Phosphorescent, Will Johnson, Adam Remnant (Southeast Engine), Emily Rodgers, Shearwater
Lot of Misra shows on the horizon. Offerings from Centro-matic, Jerry David DeCicca (Black Swans), Monahans, Phosphorescent, Will Johnson, Adam Remnant (Southeast Engine), Emily Rodgers, and Shearwater. Dig the atmospheres via the Misra Tour page.
All-Stars, Heroes, Juicers, Old Yards • New Baseball Paintings by Will Johnson • Austin Art Opening this Saturday
Will Johnson of Centro-matic and South San Gabriel is a multi-talented fellow. He fronts the aforementioned, plays drums in Monsters of Folk, releases solo albums and creates wonderful baseball paintings as well.
Centro-matic’s Will Johnson & Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg on Benefit Compilation for the Late Jason Molina
Will Johnson (Centro-matic/South San Gabriel) and Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater) – two artists responsible for some of Misra’s finest releases – will be featured on a benefit compilation for Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. Do view the phenomenal artwork Will Schaff created for Molina (above) and the compilation’s cover (below). Read more about it all at the foot of this post.
Graveface Records has announced a benefit compilation honoring the late Jason Molina, all proceeds from which will help his family with medical and funeral costs. The CD comp, which will feature artists covering Molina’s songs, includes Mark Kozelek, Phil Elverum, Will Oldham, Allo Darlin’, Scout Niblett, John Vanderslice, Jeffrey Lewis, Will Johnson, Damien Jurado, Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg, Hospital Ships, Wave Pictures, Herman Dune, and more. It’s titled Weary Engine Blues after an artwork by Molina used for the cover, above.
Listen to Mark Kozelek’s contribution above. The CD will be accompanied by a screenprinted artwork by William Schaff, made for Molina and pictured below. Of the print, Schaff said:
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… Sadly, the map was never delivered to him… Ryan Graveface and I thought maybe there is still a way for this map to be useful… 100% of the profits from this print will be going to Jason Molina’s family.
Will Johnson of Centro-matic and South San Gabriel is the wonderful man responsible for the most Misra releases thus far. Here he remembers Jason Molina and his time making the “Molina & Johnson” record down in Texas.
“Late one night in March of 2004 I was introduced to Jason Molina at the northwest corner of 6th and Red River in Austin, Texas. He was wearing a green military style jacket with a black t-shirt underneath that had some sparkly script on it. I think it had something to do with country music. When we shook hands, he said: “Songwriter, right?” I said yes. We talked for a few minutes, realized a mutual admiration and connected some dots through various folks that had previously linked us from afar. I’d been a fan of his work for five or six years by that point. Before we parted ways I made sure to convey to him that on a recent, very long tour around Europe, the Songs:Ohia Magnolia Electric Company LP had become a place of musical sanctuary for me. His expansive, remarkable voice, and those songs became a crucial source of counsel over those miles and nights. A needed and regular companion just before sleep.
We didn’t keep in touch but we’d see each other around here and there, usually in some South by Southwest stew of haste; in a club or makeshift venue we’d never been to before, and probably wouldn’t return to again. During those years I was dedicated to seeing Magnolia play any chance I got. They’d fast become one of my favorite bands, and their recordings were usually in regular rotation on my pickup truck solo tours. I went to see them at Emo’s on September 13, 2007, and they were in astonishingly good, mid-tour form. Afterward Jason and I wound up talking at the merch booth for a while. We discussed the types of hats we were comfortable enough wearing onstage, and found we both had long-running affection for the color of pumpkin orange. He had strong opinions on both topics. He seemed to have strong opinions on everything. When the 2am house lights went on and we started into our farewells, he flatly said that we should make a record together. I agreed. He suggested that we start the session during the first full moon of 2008. We swapped email addresses on scraps of paper and said goodbye. I drove home inspired.
Jason emailed to follow up on it within 48 hours. I didn’t know him well, but I liked him a lot. Over the next few weeks I came to find out fast that he was very dedicated to this idea. We missed the first full moon of the new year, but secured his plane ticket and reserved our dates for February 2008 at the Echo Lab in Argyle, Texas. The idea we talked about on the followup phone calls was each bringing five songs in, then seeing where it went from there.
When I arrived to the studio he was on the back porch with a cigarette in hand, at the ready. He’d come all the way from London, and I was the one that was late. He wanted to get a thesaurus, so I drove us into Denton. We found one that was suitable, along with guitar strings and groceries for the next few days. After that we drove south to the Swisher Road Wal-Mart, where we filled a shopping cart with various types of notepads, packages of colored construction paper, Post-It notes, a box of Sharpies, a box of Mirado Black Warrior pencils, a case of Lone Star beer, a Daisy BB gun, and plenty of BB’s for the week. He was very specific about the Black Warrior pencils.
I’d rented a cabin in Mississippi a few weeks earlier to write toward our record. I came back to Texas with a handful of songs I wanted to try, and realized after we each tracked one apiece that first night that I would shelve them all for another time. He recorded a version of “Wooden Heart”, and I recorded something that I later wrote off as a bad fit, and about 60 percent shitty. Overall there was a feeling of great happiness between us that night. We had porch beers late, and slowly concluded that the record would be better suited by writing in the moment, on the premises. Clean slate. The next day he set up a writing station in the band apartment, and I set one up in the iso-booth. For the next nine days we workshopped everything, backing each other readily, working diligently together, and at times alone. We tried to be the best singers, multi-instrumentalists and side-people we could be for one another. We were industrious, prolific, and inspired. We barked at each other when a line wasn’t right, and left our politeness at the door when it came to the writing. His humor was great, and there was a good balance and rhythm to our days. It felt like camp. Any time there was a needed moment of therapy we stepped out back and shot the BB gun into the woods, or at various targets we’d set up.
Jason was usually the last to bed every night, and the first one up. I’d wake up on the lounge futon and often the first thing I would see through the window was his silhouette or shadow on the porch, pacing, with cigarette in hand. Sometimes with a beer. Loyal and ready. He worked on his songwriting with the care and attention of a gifted and obsessed technician. It was an incredible dedication to look upon, this relationship that pulsated between Jason and the song. I learned a lot from him in those days. I watched the way he worked lines and verses over and over, sitting at that little desk, and on occasion found myself in awe of his tirelessness. Our surroundings were littered with paper. Drafts, chord sheets, fragments on pages, notebooks, and final lyric sheets. My longtime friend and bandmate Matt Pence was engineering the project, and was a source of great direction and guidance for us. Mikey Kapinus, Howard Draper, Sarah Jaffe, Bryan Vandivier, and Scott Danbom all dropped by or stayed with us at various points to help see it through. They were all integral to the session’s morale and spirit. They each performed beautifully and we were lucky to have them involved. We recorded and mixed twenty-two songs in nine days.
That last night Jason and I sat down outside and worked out the sequence of the record. In my experience this has often been a lengthy headache of a puzzle, but we agreed on the order in about thirty minutes. We then took various notes, lyric scraps, and artifacts from the session, put them all in a Ball jar, and buried it out back. Our own time capsule. We stacked all of our notes and lyric sheets up on the table and looked through them. We’d written a lot for just a short time together. He requested that I keep them all together and safe, and we immediately jumped to the idea of making another record together. We stayed up late and said our goodbyes the next morning. I didn’t know I’d only get to see him one more time after that.
Secretly Canadian kindly released our record in November of 2009.
I won’t write much about our cancelled tours. I can only say that I don’t think Jason was in any condition to tour then. It wasn’t an easy time for a lot of us simply given the fact that we loved him and cared for him. We didn’t want to see him struggle.
For the next couple of years we relied on phone calls and emails. My guess is that that’s the way it went with him and most of his friends during that time. We didn’t talk often, but when we did it was usually at great length and not without difficult moments. We still discussed the idea of re-circling the wagons and recording again. In 2011, because of his living quarters’ regulations, his communication was reduced to letter-writing. We exchanged a few, and it was a practice I liked. His last letter made me grateful for our friendship, the time we had together, his generosity, and the faith he had in his friends and strangers alike. There was a noticeable tone of of peace in his last letter, and I hung hope on that for most of the past year. That’s what made getting the phone call on Sunday even tougher. So many of us were hopeful he would outrun the badness. So many of us will miss him terribly.
I will always love his voice, and I will always love his writing. I feel confident that I’ll listen to his songs for all my life. We have undoubtedly lost one of the great writers of our time.
In that last letter he suggested that I make a Homerun Baker baseball painting. He explained to me that his father used to deliver newspapers to the Hall of Famer, and it was said that later in his life Baker paid for everything with Indian Head pennies. I made that painting last month with Jason in mind, but never told him I’d made it. I meant to. Every time I looked at it over in the corner I thought of him, reminded that I needed to write soon. I don’t think reaching out would have changed history. I don’t think the story would have changed. It’s a matter of being left with the feeling of wishing I’d done something I just didn’t do.
Connect when the feeling strikes. Work on loving. Work to avoid regret. Because a lot of the time it’s hard to tell what the last time looks like.”
-Will Johnson/Austin, TX March 21, 2013
We are all deeply saddened to hear that Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. has passed away. He was a phenomenal Ohio musician and his music meant a lot to many in the Misra camp.
Molina hit close to home (literally and figuratively) and Misra had artists lucky enough to share stages and records with him throughout his expansive career. Will Johnson of Centro-matic released Molina & Johnson alongside Jason in 2009 and Southeast Engine played shows and shared the same booking agent as MEC. In addition, Shearwater did a number of dates with Molina back in the day.
His music seemed to make time stand still and, for brief moments, it left a lingering sense that everything was going to be okay. Oh, what a beautiful gift Jason Molina gave. “It ain’t Hallelujah, but it might as well have been.”
Will Johnson will embark on a living room tour of the Southern United States. The tour kicks off on February 12. Here is a recent feature via the fine folks of Pop Press International on Centro.
|02/12/13||Alexandria, LA||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/13/13||Mobile, AL||IMC / Satori Coffee House||United States|
|02/14/13||Waverly, AL||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/15/13||Athens, GA||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/16/13||Snellville, GA||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/17/13||Huntsville, AL||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/18/13||Nashville, TN||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/20/13||Memphis, TN||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/21/13||Dallas, TX||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/22/13||Houston, TX||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/23/13||Sealy, TX||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/24/13||Austin, TX||Living Room Show||United States|
|02/25/13||San Antonio, TX||Living Room Show||United States|
Reminder: Shearwater supporting Dinosaur Jr. • Black Swans supporting WHY? • R. Ring, Southeast Engine, Water Liars, Will Johnson, Centro-matic Tours
A reminder that Shearwater are currently supporting Dinosaur Jr., Black Swans are supporting WHY?, and R. Ring, Southeast Engine, Water Liars, Will Johnson (solo), and Centro-matic all having forthcoming tours. Hallelujah the Hills and Emily Rodgers also have a few shows lined up as well.
Head to the tour page on Misra’s site here to learn more. Thanks for supporting independent music!