Josephine

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Ohio-born Jason Molina is the only constant member of Magnolia Electric Co., which used to be known as Songs: Ohia, and he also records under his own name—so maybe it’s best to approach Josephine on its own terms. Somehow both low-key and rather grand, it’s an album suffused with both the mournfulness of alt-country and the hopefulness of pop. No sooner does the horn section inject a note of triumph than Mike Brenner’s lap steel colors it with doubt. Jason’s songwriting and plaintive singing voice stands between them like a comfortably uncertain conductor leading a symphony of melancholy.