my music and performances

October News

by j on October 31, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

October was a month of fantastic firsts. We threw our first Sundaysong Singalong outside at the park to great effect. A bunch of cool folks came and really dug it, singing Beatles songs while kids make chalk art on the sidewalk. We’ll do it again the first Sunday of November.

And I played my first gig with my new battery powered pedalboard and vocal amp. My dream of amplifying the magic paid off, and I think Ralph and I were able to make that sweet spot into a dreamy space for the Friday lunchtime crew. This stood in stark contrast to the campus gig Ralph and I played the week before, by the turtle pond, without amplification, where I belted out the songs and struggled to be heard over all the distracting background activity.

Maile, Anais and I also checked out a cool festival an hour north of Austin called Art Outside. Considering that art outside is basically what I consider my mission these day, I had to check it out, and I’m glad I did. Cool music, vibe, grounds, and format. Weaving visual and performance art in with the music festival added a real richness that made it feel more participatory and authentic than just a hipster-hippy party.

hipster hippy,
j

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Tunes for Turtles

by j on October 18, 2014 · 3 comments

in my music and performances

Ralph and I played a set at the turtle pond this afternoon. It was a gorgeous, sunny, 85-degree day and all the turtles came out, along with a bunch of friends from around the UT-Austin campus. Carlo snapped a great set of reflections in the water, presented here, upside down.

We opened with one of my songs, I Can See You. Check out all the background noises: birds, planes, bells, trucks… the hum of the buildings and the buzz of the Friday afternoon exodus was our backdrop.

We closed with a cover of Cat Stevens’s If You Want To Sing Out Sing Out:

Soundcloud player: If You Want To Sing Out Sing Out

j and ralph w guitars, reflection in turtle pond

Jessica snapped a pic of me after everyone had gone and caught some cool colors in the sun flair.j w guitar infront of turtle pond

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Gray and Lauren got married a few weeks ago, so I worked up this old favorite to perform at the wedding. How much more simple, beautiful and true can a song get?!

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved

Love is you, you and me
Love is knowing we can be

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved

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Asleep In The Shade

by j on September 22, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

Meditation takes many forms and for me sometimes the most effortless is losing myself, late at night, in the soupy, loopy delay of a slow ambient guitar progression. (Especially when I have new loop and delay pedals to play with.)

Adding simple layer upon echoey layer bakes a nice end-of-day dream. I use this to help slip past a long day out into the night sea.

For the gear-heads, here are the tricks I’ve got up my sleeve on this track, along with an Ebow.

loop and delay pedals

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I’ve finally started doing something I’ve wanted to do for like the last year: Sundaysong Singalong. The idea is simple: have a singalong instead of church. Put another way, it’s like an old Pete Seeger-style folksong singalong, just with a Sunday-morning sort of setlist: songs of  love, beauty, gratitude, wisdom, work, wonder… songs that evoke higher powers, that are sacred without feeling sectarian.

So yesterday I finally gathered a small group to test the concept. A dozen of us gathered in my living room where I projected the lyrics on to a sheet hanging from the hearth. I didn’t snap any pics — the one below of Gray and I playing at the back of the room was by Dan — but I did have my recorder going. Here is a medley of seven of the songs we sang to give you a flavor of the morning’s songs:

j-gray-singalong-7-20-14Setlist

Rise Up Singing Songbook

  1. This Land Is Your Land (p.5)
  2. Moonshadow (p. 30)
  3. Big Yellow Taxi (p. 34)
  4. Day-O (p. 49)
  5. The Times They Are A’Changin (G)
  6. The Water Is Wide
  7. Rivers of Babylon (p. 63)
  8. Lean On Me (p. 66)
  9. With A Little Help From My Friends (p. 68)
  10. Keep On The Sunny Side (p. 87)
  11. Amazing Grace (p. 92)
  12. I Shall Be Released (p. 102)
  13. Blowin In The Wind (D) (p. 115)
  14. Imagine (C) (p.116)
  15. Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore (p.62)

Beatles Songbook

  1. Let It Be (p. 206)
  2. All You Need Is Love (p. 18)
  3. Across The Universe (p. 10)

We only made it through #12 before it had been an hour and we called it quits, chatted by the fruit and the donuts, and went our separate Sunday ways. The whole thing was an easy success judging by the effortless joining of strangers in song, the sharing and the smiles.


Last weekend I inaugurated the first Sundaysong Singalong’s touring version, because we were in Houston for the weekend to catch the Magritte exhibit at the Menil. I invited a few Houston friends to join us on the lawn of the Menil for the hour before the museum opened at 11, so at 10 AM, Maile, Anais and I spread our blanket beneath a shade tree and laid out our picnic. Before long Ritiban, Jasmine, and their boy Ian had joined us. Before we were done another mom and her girl had found and joined us.

While Ritiban and I strummed, the kids drew with sidewalk chalk and the mothers watched and talked. (Ian had to be chased down the block several times as he made breaks for it.) It was a wonderful hour after which we all went into the  gallery to roam around in the cool surrealism.

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DIVERSIFY

by j on May 16, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

I had my appendix out a few months ago and when I got home from the hospital there was a card signed by a bunch of my coworkers. On top of that, they pooled $70 and pledged it toward my next song on Patreon. I was so touched. So I wrote a song for all the folks I work with fitting as many names and division acronyms in as I could.

It’s the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (at UT-Austin), so I called it DIVERSIFY, and spelled it out imagining everyone singing it with me as an anthem. This week we had our all-division staff meeting and I had a chance to sing it to over 200 collegues. As you can see below, it was a lot of fun and folks got into it. Listen to the the studio version on SoundCloud.

DIVERSIFY

D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y
Don’t you know that if you want to grow got to diversify
D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y
Don’t ya know that we’re here to show it to the university

I’m not just talkin bout color
Not just talkin bout race
Talkin bout gettin out of your bubble
And seeing it another way

Talkin bout your teachers
Talkin bout your staff
I’m talkin bout your leaders
You do the math

Talking globalization
And what will keep us strong
’bout difficult conversations
That help us get along, making us strong

D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y

Sherri’s got the plan
Betty Jeanne’s gonna teach
Stella got the research
Simon gonna do IT

Ralph is gonna hook you up
Tatiana is doin the books
Helen and Heidi are holdin it down
While Milly and Thais are spreadin it round

Leslie’s got the story
Ron’s got design
J gonna make some web sites
Virginia got write some lines

Erica is on the board
Dr. V. is on the scene
Ruth has got the proof
Hannah’s got the VIP

Susan is writin the points
Patrick is takin it on
Jennifer is runnin it right
Leonard is fatherin sons

Maurice is puttin it on
Suzanne is writing it down
Robiaun’s making friends in high places
Angie’s putting smiles on all the kid’s faces

D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y

We got the MEC and the GSC
with a space where you can truly be
LCAE, LCSP and NLP
gonna keep em goin to the university

The OIE and the CCRT
gonna make sure we got some equity
The triple A, B, PE and the HFSA
gonna make sure we got all kinds of faculty

The SSD got our ADAA
The UIL gonna run the race
The HOGG keepin us mentally healthy
The CEC gonna rock the East

The RFL is gonna find you funds
CDSI gonna make you rich
The LCCE gonna sign you up
The SJI make you an activist

D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y
Diversify your money, diversify your mind,
D-I-V-E-R-S-I-F-Y
When you get out of your comfort zone you’ll know what it is to be alive

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Here is a map of sweet spots around Austin where I like to play outdoor shows. My favorite spots are natural amphitheaters, secluded stages, echoey places, like beneath bridges. I look forward to adding places I’d like to play and starting maps for other cities like D.C. and San Diego.


View Map of Sweet Spots for Outdoor Concerts in Austin in a larger map

I used Hannah’s pic of me from my concert in Calhoun courtyard as my map pin. I’m a pinhead!

Jason Molin playing in Calhoun courtyard

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Joy’s Song

by j on February 12, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

Let me tell you about a song I just wrote for someone I appreciate and admire. It’s a Valentines Day song.

A few years ago I ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make my second album, FOK DUB. For $100 you got a custom song. Here, finally, I am delivering a song to Joy Haynes, a fantastic artist in her own right, that I know from high school. (Check out this wonderful documentary she produced about a psychiatric hospital in DC.)

custom song for $100She wanted a country song with the chorus: “I’d rather be doing nothing with you than something with someone else.” So I asked her for a list of things she likes to do and here’s what she gave me:

  • play games (boggle, scrabble, cards)
  • drink wine
  • travel
  • eat out
  • act junky (that means watching tv on the couch in my pajamas snuggled under a blanket)
  • go on long walks
  • sleep nine hours a night
  • listen to NPR
  • listen to country music
  • go to any live event (sports, music, theater)
  • read
  • drive with the windows down and the heat on
  • tailgate
  • have intense, life inspiring conversations
  • guffaw
  • go to photo exhibits
  • concoct conspiracy theories
  • keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds
  • never run out of things (toothpaste, milk, whatever)
  • did I mention drinking wine!?!? :-)

What a great list! I put it all into a song, we went back and forth about the ending a bit and viola! Here it is on Soundcloud:

I’d Rather Be Doing Nothing With You (Than Something With Someone Else)

I like to play scrabble on a Saturday night
Go to a game, stop for a bite
Or we could go to a show at this theater I know
I like play cards and I like to drink wine
Put em together with you it’s divine
Let’s take a long walk, sit on the dock
We’ll talk and not talk, then talk and not talk
Cause I’d rather be doin nothin with you than
Something with someone else

I like to cruise around with the windows all down
Feelin the beat with the heat on my feet
There’s always some toothpaste at my place my friend
Intense conversations, inspiration to lend
When you’re not around NPR is my friend
When I’m sick of the news it’s country music again
Or sitting on the couch watching TV
Actin junky in my PJs is OK by me
But I’d rather be doin nothin with you than
Something with someone else

Wander with me to the new gallery
Look at the walls and tell me what you see
Feet on the ground and our head in the clouds
Guffawing along a little too loud
I got my sweet nine of sleep last night
So I’m ready to go, lets find a good show
Conspiracy theories we’ll make up a few
As long as I am doin nothin with you
I’d rather we just threw a party for two
Than rendezvous with somebody else
Let’s me and you, no switcheroo
Yes I’d rather be doing nothing but you
Than anything with anyone else

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This song is the realization of several visions I’ve been trying to bring together: It’s a mantra. It’s reggae, it’s dub. It’s got a killer horn section. And it achieves a sort of introspective spirituality I’ve begun chasing a lot lately.

It’s the second song I’ve posted with horns arranged by local legend Mark “Speedy” Gonzales, and by far the most far out song from this session as you’ll hear in the second half when the horns take turns playing through a delay pedal that I was operating. This song shares  the same long, repetitive structure as Lub Dub. I didn’t realize until we were recording it that it is a sort of continuation of that instrumental, this time with meditative lyrics.

I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself
I’m not gonna to try to change you, I’m through
I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself
I’m gonna try, I’m gonna choose my truths

believed em when they told me i could do, anything i choose, i put my mind to
now it sounds cruel and funny as i’m runin out of time and money
so much less in within our control than I knew in my youth, but now i know the truth
we don’t choose what we believe for a long long time, but when we do it’s divine
I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself…

we’re all in way over our heads, taking our meds until we’re dead
thought that there was something i could say but it doesn’t work that way, so i’ll save the cliches
i could waste my time trying to change your mind, by why? it’s written in the sky
no one wants to hear what you think they should do, we just want someone who’s true

I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself…

so, i go out and i sit in the sun, close my eyes, turn my hands up the sky
i sit real still for a while, breath real slow, forget everything i know
i see the world as it will be, without me and my misery
unconsciousness connects me to everything else and for a second i get let go of myself

I’m not gonna to try to change anyone but myself…


Jason Molin – vocals and guitar
Gray Parsons – drums
Doug Snyder – bass
Mark Gonzalez – trombone
Dan Bechdolt – sax
Kevin Flatt – trumpet

IMAG2349 horns2

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Paige Fest 2013

by j on January 28, 2014 · 0 comments

in my music and performances

I had a great time playing at Paige Fest 2013 and am looking forward to playing it again this May. Mike just posted this video slideshow of pics that starts off with my version of Un Momento Perfecto – recorded on stage last year – as the soundtrack.

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