Mason Jennings (born 1975 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American pop-folk singer-songwriter.
He is well known for his simple yet catchy melodies, intimate lyrics, literary and historical themes, and distinctive voice.
Born in Hawaii, Jennings moved with his family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at an early age. Jennings learned to play guitar at the age of 13, when he began writing songs. Jennings later dropped out of school and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pursue his musical career.
Jennings produced his self-titled debut album in 1997 on an analog four-track in the living room of a rented home, playing all instruments himself.
In October 1998, joined by drummer Chris Stock and bassist Robert Skoro, he began a weekly gig at Minneapolis' 400 Bar as the Mason Jennings Band.
The two week gig ended up lasting four months. Jennings began touring nationally and expanded the depth of his sound by inviting saxophonist Chris Thomson to play with them occasionally and replacing Stock with Brazilian jazz drummer Edgar Olivera.
2000’s “Birds Flying Away” revealed Jennings' political activism and penchant for singing first-person narratives of imaginary rustic characters. Following the release of this album, Noah Levy of The Honeydogs took over drumming duties from Olivera.
In 2002, Jennings released a studio album, “Century Spring, “and a “fans only” collection of acoustic songs, “Simple Life.”
An EP supporting “Century Spring” was also released, featuring the album's opening track, “Living In The Moment,” two live tracks, and the previously-unreleased “Emperor Ashoka.”
Jennings released all three discs, and re-released his earlier albums, on his record label, Architect Records.
In 2003, Skoro and Levy left the band and were replaced by bassist Chris Morrissey and drummer Brian McLeod. In February 2004, Jennings released “Use Your Voice,” which notably included the songs “Keepin' It Real” ostensibly written at the request of “Shrek 2” producers (but not used in the film), and “The Ballad of Paul and Sheila," an acoustic dirge for late Minnesota senator Paul Wellstone.
In September of that year, the band released a DVD entitled “Use Your Van,” which chronicled the recording of “Use Your Voice” and part of the promotional tour. The DVD was filmed by Andy Grund.
In June 2005, Jennings signed with Glacial Pace, a subsidiary of Sony's Epic Records headed by Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock. Jennings recorded his sixth album, “Boneclouds,” at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, Minnesot with producer Noah Georgeson.
The album was released in May 2006 by Glacial Pace. Soon thereafter, bassist Chris Morrisey left the band.
Jennings recorded two Bob Dylan songs, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” for the soundtrack of the 2007 movie “I'm Not There.”
In early 2008 Mason signed with Jack Johnson's record label, Brushfire Records. Jennings released “In the Ever” in May 2008. The title was inspired by his son referring to where he was before he was born as, “In the ever.”
In September 2009, Blood of Man was released. A free bonus EP titled “Independent” (containing the tracks “Mark My Heart With Ashes” and “Wide Open Country”) was distributed with the album at independent record stores.
Jennings appeared on the soundtrack to the documentary “180° South,” which was released in March 2010. In late 2010, “Live at First Ave.,” his first live album, was released.
In 2011 Jennings issued the full-length album, “Minnesota,” on the Stats and Brackets label.
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