On a rare day off during Magnolia Electric Co.’s 2005 European tour, a pair of fans in the south of France convinced Jason Molina to abandon the promise of leisure to play a show in an old church in Toulouse. Now, fifteen years later, the result is making its way into the world for the first time via Live at La Chapelle, an 11-track album of Molina’s performance at the former church squatted and converted into a hub for the arts.
Recorded with just a static microphone and a minidisc on June 7th, 2005, in front of a reverent crowd of 200, Live at La Chapelle is aglow with the hushed murmurs and whispers of an engrossed audience, of Molina’s stripped-back performance reverberating to the rafters. The neighbors’ penchant for calling the police with noise complaints meant acoustic shows only, so Molina split the difference and came with his electric guitar, choirboy voice, and Magnolia Electric Co. member Michael Kapinus’ occasionally guesting on trumpet.
The sparse record finally made its way Secretly Canadian in 2014, and six years later, as part of the process of unearthing work from the extensive Molina archive, Live at La Chapelle will finally be widely heard.
Here, Molina remarks some of his canonical work as well as the more obscure, deeper cuts in the special environment of La Chapelle. Nowhere better to hear a solo performance of Jason Molina’s catalog than in a house of worship, a cavernous structure with ceilings nearly high enough to contain the impossible reach a holy, lonesome voice.