MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO. | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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MAGNOLIA ELECTRIC CO.

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I've always been a little less enthusiastic about Magnolia Electric Co. than Songs: Ohia, even though the main thing Jason Molina changed was the name he recorded under. The problem is that the trenchant troubadour has started to get above his raisin'. His latest release, Sojourner (Secretly Canadian), asks an awful lot from his fans: it's a box set of three full-lengths and an EP, all consisting of material recorded during previous album sessions. The music has a hobo-balladeer quality and plays out like an extended travelogue (which makes sense, seeing as Molina tours a lot), but you'd need one hell of a long road trip to appreciate all of it properly. Still, like any good journey, even one you undertake in fits and starts, it leaves you feeling changed. Included as part of the package is The Road Becomes What You Leave, a video tour diary that's a perfect visual accompaniment to Molina's desolate scenes and atmospheric arrangements. Golden Boots and Thousand Arrows open. a 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $12, $10 in advance. --Monica Kendrick

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