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Today, strong>Goshen Electric Co. which features Strand of Oaks’ Tim Showalter at the helm of the Magnolia Electric Co. band, releases a 7-in. featuring re-workings of Jason Molina’s songwriting: “The Gray Tower” b/w “Ring the Bell.” The digital version also includes an extended, nine-minute version of “Ring the Bell.”
Accompanying the single’s release is the official video for B-side “Ring the Bell,” filmed in the studio. “Ring the Bell,” recorded in its first take, features a roaring guitar line butting against its steady drumbeat, a twinge of psychedelia, and thrums with – in Showalter’s own words – “pure vibe.” Showalter’s wail recalls Molina’s somber, choir-boy croon, just roughened with sandpaper.
Better known as Strand of Oaks, Showalter’s reverence of Molina’s music made itself known first in the sprawling, aching centerpiece of 2014’s HEAL, “JM.” Now, Showalter’s turn at the helm of Magnolia Electric Co. (Mike Brenner, Jason Evans Groth, Mikey Kapinus, Mark Rice, Peter Schreiner) came ahead of the Goshen, In. native’s Memorial Electric Co. European tour.
“It’s strange for me to sing his words,” Showalter says. “I’m not trying to be overly dramatic, but I had to prepare myself to sing these lyrics – when I was having terrible times in my life at certain points, it was those lyrics that came on.”
The resulting 7-in. captures the eerie dichotomy of two of Molina’s deeper cuts, reimagining “The Gray Tower,” a 2002 single, and “Ring the Bell,” which appeared on both Songs: Ohia Didn’t It Rain (2002) and Magnolia Electric Co.’s Trials & Errors (2005). It’s a testament to the tightness of Magnolia Electric Co.’s musicianship, and the careful tenderness that comes with stepping into the shoes of a musical hero, wanting to both re-invent and honor the formative music of one’s youth.
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