Jason Molina, the alternative singer-songwriter best known as the leader of Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., died at the age of 39 on Saturday (Mar. 16).
Molina's death was confirmed by longtime label Secretly Canadian on Monday. "Our friend Jason Molina passed away from natural causes on Saturday, March 16th in Indianapolis," the label posted on its official Twitter account.
"Jason is the cornerstone of Secretly Canadian. Without him there would be no us – plain and simple," the label said in a full statement later Monday. "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... We’re going to miss Jason. He was generous. He was a one of a kind. And he had a voice unlike any other."
A native of Lorain, Ohio, who started his career as a heavy metal bassist in the Cleveland area, Molina eventually became a crucial artist in the formative years of Indiana-based indie label Secretly Canadian; his "One Pronunciation of Glory" seven-inch under the name Songs: Ohia was the label's second-ever release in 1996. Molina released the self-titled debut of Songs: Ohia in 1997, and continued the alt-country project until 2003, with the release of his critically acclaimed album, "Magnolia Electric Co." The album, recorded by Steve Albini, was Molina's most straight-ahead rock effort to date.
The prolific songwriter opted to continue under the name Magnolia Electric Co. as well as under his own name, with Molina's "Pyramid Electric Co." produced by Mike Mogis and released in 2004. Molina's best-selling release is the 2005 Magnolia Electric Co. album "What Comes After The Blues" (13,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan), and his final release was 2012's "Autumn Bird Songs," under his own name.
As a memorial gift, contributions can be made to his medical fund via PayPal.