Local Wire

Magnolia Electric Co.

Alt-country poster boy Ryan Adams might get the lion's share of accolades, but Jason Molina, the driving force behind Magnolia Electric Co., seems more than capable of giving Adams a run for his money. The similarities between the two artists don't end with their penchant for brooding, alt-country balladry. Both have heavy metal connections — Molina played bass in several Cleveland metal bands before embarking on a solo career, and Adams has released several metal songs under the pseudonym Werewolph — and both are known for being prolific songwriters. Adams has released 10 albums in the past nine years (including three in 2005 alone), while Molina has released more than 20 studio albums, live albums and EPs under various monikers since 1997, not to mention Magnolia Electric Co.'s ambitious four-CD, one-DVD box set, Sojourner, in 2007. But while Adams' warbling falsetto occasionally sounds like an unsuccessful attempt to conjure Jeff Buckley, Molina seems much more confident with his voice. Molina mostly sticks to the middle range, sounding like a twangier David Byrne. The biggest difference between the two, however, is that you can still catch Molina in intimate venues like Modified Arts for just 10 bucks.

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Mike R. Meyer

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