Call this the Phantoms of Folk. Call this two lone wolves running together for one dark blissout of a night. Two of the finest indie-folk songwriters of the last decade come together under the Texas sky to quietly lay to tape 14 crushing, haunting tunes, leaving space enough in each to match their surroundings.
Consider the collective catalogs of these two prolific purveyors of the new American songcraft: Magnolia Electric Co., Centro-matic, Songs: Ohia, South San Gabriel. Now, let’s just be honest. A little bit of artistic ego and one-upsmanship can serve a greater purpose. In this collaboration between Jason Molina and Will Johnson, each seem to hold the other’s talents to fire and elevate both performance and creativity. In the friendly sharing of ideas, Molina and Johnson become two poet’s poets in a workshop, aimed to craft a singular, searing elegy.
Each artists’ familiar aesthetics lay intact, but find a new, intriguing middle ground on Molina and Johnson. Molina’s documentarian, record-the-room ethos finds a home in Johnson’s subtle atmospherics and production tweaks; and Molina’s powerful tenor croon finds a fitting dance partner in Johnson’s equally moving soft-gravel vox. While the individual performances from each are stunning in their own right, the musical mind meld that was captured is absolutely the occasion it should be.
Will Johnson describes this alignment of two red stars: "For ten days we wrote, co-wrote, workshopped, complimented, scrutinized, drank, invited friends to come play music, smoked, made lots of notes and drawings, drank a little more and shot the BB gun off the back porch when we just needed some time and space. In the throes of all this, our record was made in the late February sun."
The album is also abound with contributions from other fine musicians, such as Magnolia Electric Co.’s Michael Kapinus and Texas songwriter Sarah Jaffe, whose plaintive vocals "All Gone, All Gone," accompanied by the sound of a crying saw, will stir in your gut for days. Other accomplished contributors include Howard Draper, Bryan VanDivier and Scott Danbom.
Molina and Johnson will be available on Secretly Canadian November 3 in the US, and November 2 in the UK. And check out the duo’s European tour planned for late November and December. There will also be a North American tour coming in early 2010.
11/26 Deventer (NL), Burgerweeshuis
11/27 Ottersum (NL), Roepaen
11/28 Brussels (B), Botanique: 15 years Tout Partout
11/29 Utrecht (NL), Le Gues Who? Festival@Tivoli
11/30 Eindhoven (NL), MC Frits Philips
12/01 Winchester (UK), Railway Inn
12/02 London (UK), Garage
12/03 Manchester (UK), Deaf Institute
12/10 Barcelona (Spain), Primavera Club@Sala Be Cool
12/11 Barcelona (Spain), Primavera Club@Auditorio Montjuich
12/12 Madrid (Spain), Primavera Club@Teatro Alcazar
12/13 Lloseta-Mallorca (Spain), Teatro Lloseta
12/14 Puerto Real (Spain), Venue TBA