Mason Jennings – Minnesota

January 01, 1970

(Stats and Brackets)


Most prolific musicians are simply in need of
someone to say “slow the fuck down”. Prince has been his own worst enemy in
terms of tarnishing his once-stellar musical rep thanks to hours upon hours of
mediocre musical jam sessions he slaps on CDs and puts out as unnecessary box
sets; Willie Nelson, a personal hero of mine, could have used a little
intervention when he started churning out reggae albums; and the only thing
Ryan Adams has yet to release to the public is an album full of all the times
he sang “Happy Birthday” at family parties over the past year.


That being said, pop folk singer Mason
Jennings – with nine releases (EPs, full lengths and a live record) in just the
past five years alone – managed to cull together a pretty decent collection for
his latest Minnesota. The songs, heavy on Jennings’ melancholy
vocal delivery and mellow acoustic strums, still fit nicely in that sanguine,
laid back surfer vibe (think Jack Johnson and Matt Costa). He even manages to
channel a little Lou Reed in the song “Wake Up”.


There are a few missteps here and there, most
notably on the plodding “Witches Dream,” and drum-heavy “Well of Love,” neither
of which fit well on this otherwise strong release. The album ends on a high
note, capped with the beautiful piano-driven ballad “No Relief.”  With 15 or so release since 1997, feel free
to take a break buddy. You’ve earned it.


DOWNLOAD: “Bitter Heart,” “Clutch” and “No Relief”  JOHN B. MOORE

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