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My Morning Jacket kicks off Rock the Cause's Jason Molina tribute album

Posted by: Chris Riemenschneider under Music, SXSW music festival, Minnesota musicians Updated: March 6, 2014 - 12:47 PM
My Morning Jacket was one of two dozen acts that lined up for the new Jason Molina tribute album from St. Paul nonprofit Rock the Cause. / AP Photo, Ed Reinke

My Morning Jacket was one of two dozen acts that lined up for the new Jason Molina tribute album from St. Paul nonprofit Rock the Cause. / AP Photo, Ed Reinke

Kentucky indie-rock gods My Morning Jacket have a rather spectacular new tune floating around the internet, and the stream behind it started here in Minnesota. The cover song, “Farewell Transmission,” is the title track of a new tribute album to late Ohio indie tunesmith Jason Molina -- the latest endeavor of St. Paul’s charitable nonprofit label/promoter Rock the Cause.

Jason Molina

Jason Molina

“We’re very excited and proud of this one,” said RTC founder Scott Herold, who is taking his cause to the South by Southwest Music Conference to promote “Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina” with a day party next week.

The 27-track Molina tribute will raise money for both MusiCares and the singer/songwriter's estate. Known as the driving force behind Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia, Molina died in 2011 after a long battle with alcoholism.

Within weeks of the sad news, Herold was contacted by a couple of music bloggers on opposite ends of the country about trying to put the record together. The idea was spawned off another fine tribute collection, 2011’s “Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt,” honoring the Georgia song legend who hadkilled himself a year earlier.

“Everything we’re able to do with this record points back to the Vic Chesnutt collection,” Herold said, explaining that the earlier disc gave them “a foot in the door on a national scale” and led to a distribution and overall financial structuring that helps RTC get a better return for its causes. This also helped with the success last year of Zach Sobiech's “Clouds” single, which hit the Billboard and iTunes charts just as the teenage Stillwater songwriter died of a rare form of cancer.

“Farewell Transmission” will arrive April 22, and Herold hopes to build the buzz in the meantime. Besides the My Morning Jacket cut (posted below), the album also features two dozen other recordings from the likes of Murder by Death, Cory Branan, Sarah Jaffe, Centromatic’s Will Johnson, Squares and a Minnesota cast that includes Communist Daughter, Farewell Milwaukee, Gabriel Douglas, Luke Redfield, Enemy Planes and Fathom Lane. Pitchfork.com originally posted the whole list and a report on the album here.

RTC’s SXSW party takes place next Friday, March 14, at the Liberty Bar in Austin, Texas, with a handful of the album’s participants and more RTC supporters, including Nicholas David. Some of Sobiech’s family and bandmates will also be on hand to pay tribute to him there. A local “Farewell Transmission” release party is set for April 19 at First Ave with Farewell Milwaukee and Fathom Lane. More details on the record and pre-order info are at IRocktheCause.org.

Rock the Cause also has its fifth annual Glitter Ball fundraiser coming up on March 29 at the Grain Belt Bottling House with one of the best party-starting rockers in the country, Austin's Black Joe Lewis.

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