Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mason Jennings @ Great American Music Hall

I've picked up a Mason Jennings album a few times before, listened and liked what I was hearing, and then for some reason dropped it before I really dug deep enough into the music to get beyond that first-impression. Same pattern with his self-titled album, Boneclouds and Use Your Voice, and I have no idea why. The most I've listened to Mason Jennings has been his Dylan covers (an incredible "Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" and a very good "Times They Are A-Changin'") from I'm Not There.

After catching his show, I certainly won't make the same mistake with his new album, Blood of Man, which I've already had a listen through. Jennings is great live, ably switching between electric guitar and full rock band mode and solo acoustic and harmonica.

"Black Wind Blowing" will almost certainly land on the next mix I make (that is, unless another Jennings song overtakes it). "Be Here Now," from Boneclouds, was another highlight - mid-tempo and catchy enough for the Jack Johnson crowd (Jennings is on Johnson's Brushfire label), but deceptively so because there's a stronger songwriting core than you'll find in that arena.

As thrilling as it is to be impressed seeing a brand new band live, I think it's even greater to be blown away by a band when I'm going in with a passing familiarity.

Mason Jennings - Be Here Now (live)

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