Songs: Ohia is one man -- Jason Molina -- a tenor guitar-wielding songwriter from the shores of Lake Erie. Critics often compare Songs: Ohia to Palace/Will Oldham, and while sonically the comparison is valid, Molina's ardent, soul-searching lyrics are more aptly compared to Neil Young or Leonard Cohen. Molina was born in Lorain, OH. Growing up on a heavy dosage of Black Sabbath, Molina began his musical career playing bass in heavy metal bands around Cleveland. Always a songwriter, Molina eventually decided to perform and record solo with help as needed. He developed a method of tuning his guitar that complemented his voice and worked with his background as a bass player. Finding his niche in indie rock circles, Molina made home recordings under the names Songs: Albian, Songs: Radix, and Songs: Unitas to pass out at live shows. Settling on Songs: Ohia, Molina released a single on the Palace label in 1996. The first Songs: Ohia full-length followed in 1997; released on the Secretly Canadian label, the self-titled album garnered critical acclaim. Songs: Ohia continued to release full-length albums -- including 1998's Impala and 1999's Axxess & Ace -- and a number of singles on various American and European labels, and won a large following in many European countries, most notably Holland and Germany. In 2000, Songs: Ohia released two albums, The Lioness and Ghost Tropic, which featured musical assistance from Alasdair Roberts (Appendix Out) and Shane Aspegren (Lullaby for the Working Class); the latter album saw Molina beginning to incorporate ethnic musics into his compositions. After the limited-edition, tour-only CD Protection Spells, Songs: Ohia released its first live set in late 2001. Documenting an Italian show from the previous year, a large part of Mi Sei Apparso Come un Fantasma ("You Come to me as a Ghost") consisted of unreleased (and as yet untitled) songs. By this time, Jason Molina had given his tenor guitar a rest in favor of a regular six-string instrument and had put together a full band to back him. However, 2002's Didn't it Rain found Molina working with members of neo-bluegrass outfit Jim & Jennie & the Pinetops, achieving an almost gospel sound that was a vast departure from the dense feel of Ghost Tropic. Constantly recording and writing new songs, Songs: Ohia released a handful of singles and EPs in 2002, including a split EP with Louisville's My Morning Jacket and a collaborative EP (under the name Amalgamated Sons of Rest) with Will Oldham and Ali Roberts. Pyramid Electric Co. and Magnolia Electric Co., originally conceived as a double album, were released separately in early 2003. The former, a sparse solo album, was recorded with Mike Mogis (from Lullaby for the Working Class) while the latter featured a full band and was recorded by Steve Albini. ~ Jason Nickey, Rovi