Most of the CDs that I review are either metal, punk or hardcore so it takes a special singer/songwriter to catch my attention. Mason Jennings caught my attention...this is a great CD! I have read some reviews that compare Jennings' sound to Jack Johnson (whose songs frankly annoy me) but I don't hear a basis for this comparison. The songs on this disc are folk/Americana tunes that could be compared to works by Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Bonecloud is Jennings' fifth CD and his first release on a major label - Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace Recordings (distributed by Epic Records). Jennings keeps this disc interesting by varying styles, tempos and rhythms across songs. Most of the songs are carried by Jennings' voice and not overpowered by the music. The music is carefully arranged but never overwhelming and when combined with Jennings' narrative lyrics, this draws the listener into each of the songs in a powerful manner. Some of my favorite tunes are Be Here Now which has a big sound and will likely become the radio hit from this disc, Moon Sailing on the Water which is a plaintive ballad backed with a sparse piano arrangement, Jesus Are You Real which has an 1970s Americana sound and Some Say I'm Not which contains some impressive percussion work. What I really enjoy about this disc is that each song stands on its own and tells a story. My only disappointment was the liner notes are sparse but songlyrics are available on Jennings' website. This is a minor complaint as this is a strong CD.
Jennings has three upcoming shows in the NYC area:
April 13 - Beacon Theatre (Supporting Guster)
April 18 - Luna Lounge, Brooklyn
April 21 - Gramercy Theatre, Manhattan
The following has nothing to do with this CD review but, with this being Easter day, is one of the funniest things I have read in a while.
(source: Mason Jennings' MySpace page)
Well, Easter week is here. My friend asked me if I was ready for the big Easter tradition of Peep Jousting. Well, I just looked at her for a while. Then she told me, after she got over the initial shock of me having no idea what she was talking about, that you put two Peeps facing each other in the microwave. You stick a toothpick into each Peep and turn the microwave on high for a few minutes. The peeps get huge, change shapes and, well, joust.
Mason Jennings Main Website (link)
Mason Jennings MySpace Page (link)