If you have listened to Clone4231's Steve Albini post earlier today, you could be forgiven for not hearing any link between Big Black and The Magnolia Electric Co. track here, but Albini recorded both the Magnolia albums at his own Electrical Audio studio employing his trademark "record the room" style.
[Whilst we are on the subject, there's a great essay by Mr Albini here, which will enlighten you as to why the music industry is an evil cesspit of money grabbing leeches and vermin!]
Jennie Benford appeared on Songs:Ohio's album Didn't It Rain in 2002 and features heavily on the new What Comes After The Blues album, most of the time playing a very good "Emmylou" to Jason Molina's "Neil", however on The Night Shift Lullaby she steps out of the shadows and into the limelight lending both her songwriting and vocal skills.
Her performance is really good, and gets better with repeated listens, but what really makes this track for me are those haunting steel guitar lines played by Mike Brenner. His playing is the perfect accompaniment to Molina's world weary vocals on the rest of the album, often howling out in the night like a wolf on the opposite side of the valley. (is it just me or is anybody else getting a rush of Johnny Marr a la Shakespeare's Sister in the chorus'?)
Jason Molina does make an appearance on this track on guitar (it says on the secretly canadian web site), and i am guessing that's him at about 2:45, when a couple of heart-string bends just bring the whole thing down a bit momentarily, injecting a touch more melancholy into the mix.
Although maybe not quite as good as the first Magnolia album (but then what is?), What Comes.. sees the band at the top of their game, and if you haven't already got your tickets to see them on their epic world tour this summer, then may i suggest that you head over to www.magnoliaelectricco.com.
The web site sets a standard that i would like to see a lot more artists follow, they have an archived live shows page, where you can choose from 12 gigs to download (flac format - which you can play with WinAmp5).
(click here to buy What Comes After The Blues from AmazonUK)