The despair never lets up on a Songs:Ohia record, even when Jason Molina who is Songs:Ohia is singing wistfully about the stirrings of love in his working-class heart. The despair is a constant, a looming cloud, an ever-present presence, because Molina's voice is that of the weary, the huddled, the tired, lonely and heartbroken. He is American. He's middle American at that, and as some kind of literary strum-and-wail songsmith, he's aware of his Americanness like it's in his blood. On this axis, Molina is failure and success at once, a coin spinning on a table-top: heart and heartbreak, hard work and hard play, history and future, pride and prejudice, willingness and regression, charm and arrogance. He sings: "If there's a way out it'll be step by step through the black," and through this musical darkness he walks with both smugness and hope, holding a light as he heads towards a light.
Molina finds assurance in his weakness, and strength in this assurance. His sixth full-length album, Didn't It Rain is a work of thematic and dramatic constancy, a set that draws its tonal inspiration from old-soul and Muscle Shoals recording techniques, giving off the hallowed feeling of a "timeless" work, filled with the harrowed feeling of knowing no man can ever conquer time. But time has been kind to Songs:Ohia. After being introduced to the world as a pale Will Oldham wannabe, Molina has progressed far with his own artistic and audiophilic vision, while Oldham has only wandered lost down a road whose rustic red dust has been rained away into muddied, sticky shit.