Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield have just released covers of two songs by the late cult legend Jason Molina. One of the two tunes released today, the A-side, is among Molina's best-known songs, called "Farewell Transmission." The B-side is a lesser-known tune called "Dark Don't Hide It."
Jason Molina died in 2013 of alcohol abuse-related organ failure. He was 39-years old. In his short life he touched the hearts of many and put out around 15 albums in the late '90s under different names, including Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. A handful were under his own name.
The digital version of these two cover songs is out now and includes art done by William Schaff, the same artist who did art for Jason Molina. Proceeds from the sales of the two songs will go to the MusiCares charity.
In this conversation, Katie Crutchfield and Kevin Morby talk about what drew them to the music of Jason Molina, the challenges of covering his music and what it meant to dig deep into these songs.
You can hear the conversation and music with the play button at the top of the page. You can also read edited highlights of the interview and listen to the songs below.
Kevin Morby on why Jason Molina's "Dark Don't Hide It" matters
"If an alien were to come down and ask me to to show them what indie rock was, especially from the '90s or early 2000s, perhaps I would play them this song first."
Katie Crutchfield on why she was interested in covering "Farewell Transmission"
"It's such a daunting thing to do: Cover a really long song with all those lyrics and all that nuance. I knew that there would be no real way to do it exactly like Jason Molina and therefore, it'd be exciting to make it our own."
Kevin Morby on a writer's trick they used during the recording of "Farewell Transmission"
"Katie had written out all the lyrics, and it was one of those things where it reminded me of this thing that a lot of aspiring writers do where they write out the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby just because it's such a perfect paragraph that just acting it out as if you had originally written it feels so profound. And there was something when Katie wrote out the lyrics. I had a similar feeling to that, where it was breaking the song down to its parts and reading those lyrics. They stood so strongly on their own as incredible poetry and it just made me, you know, more fascinated with the guy than I already was."