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What Glen Hansard Learned From His Friend Jason Molina

Glen Hansard's new tribute EP is called <em>It Was Triumph We Once Proposed: Songs of Jason Molina</em>.
Glen Hansard's new tribute EP is called <em>It Was Triumph We Once Proposed: Songs of Jason Molina</em>.

It's been two years since Jason Molina passed away. The singer and songwriter, who also recorded under the names Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., became an inspiration to many of his musical peers in the course of a prolific 15-year career, cut short by alcohol-related complications.

To the Irish musician Glen Hansard, he was also a friend. The two men struck up a relationship in the 1990s after Hansard picked up a Songs: Ohia album on a tour stop with his own band The Frames, and listened to it for the rest of the trip. Then he noticed something on the back cover: an address for a P.O. Box in Bloomington, Ind.

"I didn't even know if this band existed anymore. I wasn't sure if it was a current band, if it was an old band — because it was before the days of being able to look it all up," Hansard says. "And I wrote the letter to this address, saying, 'If you ever wanted to tour in Ireland, I would be so happy to host you with my own band.' And he got back! He said, 'Hello, I'm Jason, it's my record you bought — and yeah, let's do it.'"

This week, Hansard is releasing a tribute EP in his friend's memory, called It Was Triumph We Once Proposed: Songs of Jason Molina. He joined NPR's Rachel Martin to talk about it; hear their conversation at the audio link.

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