Why Haven’t You Heard This Band?

(JUS POST BELLUM)

Jus Post Bellum

The Brooklyn band Jus Post Bellum loves the Civil War more than most. They write sincere songs about John Wilkes Booth, cotton gins, sons of sharecroppers, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate clarions, all with a passionate immediacy that conjures Colin Meloy at his best.

Timeless songs for these fast, forgetful times.

Jus Post Bellum

They compose their dusty folk songs in multiple movements in the fashion of your favorite Fleet Foxes tunes, and I would put them in league with any of your favorite singer/songwriter, indie folk troupes without hesitation.

If you don’t believe me, you can ask my six year old daughter. She knows several of their songs by heart and enjoys them heartily. Wait, actually you can’t ask her,  that would be inappropriate.

Their sophomore album, Oh July, will be out soon, but their fantastic debut LP, Devil’s Winter, has been out for some time now.

So check them out already, will ya?

Jus Post Bellum

Addicted to Capital Children’s Choir

When I think of all of the senseless violence committed against children of all ages, and when I think of my own two daughters ages four and six, I can’t help from hurting when I hear the Capital Children’s Choir sing. While there is great sadness inside of me as they cover these songs, there is also a deep sense of pride and joy that something so simple as making sounds with your throat can sound so angelic.

Here are just a few of their many extraordinary covers. I do recommend sticking with each song all the way through, as they go through many movements of varying intensity and splendor.

Jason Molina Dies at 39

“Being in love means you are completely broken, then put back together. The one piece that was yours is beating in your lover’s breast. She says the same thing about hers.”

– Jason Molina (1972-2013)

Dear Jason,

It is hard to put into words what your music has meant to me over the years. I discovered you in 2000, and shortly after listening to Ghost Tropic, I knew I had found a kindred, damaged soul from the cold shores of the Great Lakes. I have watched you play tiny venues in Chicago, exchanged head nods with you near the side exit, and listened in awe to your words on stage, in my car, in my bedroom, on my computer, in the shower, and in my head. Over and again.

“You’ll never hear me talk about one day getting out. Why put a new address on the same old loneliness?”

All I can say is that your final act on this Earth was a sad one. Your tragic end is only made more tragic by how few people have been exposed to your work. In a world where we objectify and make a mockery of artists like Amy Winehouse, it is easy to forget the dangers of substance abuse in our fast times.

But there is pain, and then there is pain. I do not pretend to know the struggles you had suffered in life, but in many ways, you channeled that grief directly through your music, and it resonates in that black pit which lives inside each of us. That electric blanket of misery so tempting to cozy up with and get lost beneath.

“I lived low enough that the moon wouldn’t waste its light on me. What’s left in this life that would do the same for me?”

You are this generation’s Neil Young, our Leonard Cohen; with the pen, with your voice, and through your achingly honest tenor guitar. For those who have not heard your music, I urge them to begin now. Your catalog is staggering. There is not a more prolific musician of quality writing who has performed over the past fifteen years.

Selfishly, I wish you were still here to bless us with more material, to break our hearts and put them back together again. Selflessly, I thank you for your contributions not only to music, but in offering a therapeutic ‘thing’ which can be listened to, taken to heart, learned from, and made better by.

“Arrow find my chestnut heart, a shadow for conjuring. Big black eyes to hide my secrets in, and the map of the old horizon.”

You will be missed, Jason Molina.

Sincerely,

A Fan

 

Top 5 Things Worth Raising

5. A Glass

Nothing better then a well-timed toast.

4. Your Voice

When you want to be heard, just saying.

3. The Stakes

Every good story does this, so should you.

2. Cain

If raising your voice doesn’t work, give ‘em a little hell.

1. The Roof

You can tear it off, or raise it up, your choice.

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