Mason Jennings: Always Been
Mason Jennings has a rare, but important gift as a songwriter: brilliant simplicity. None of the songs on Always Been are complicated, but they are perfect, folksy, toe-tappers.
The title of the album comes from the track “Patti & Robert,” which draws influence from Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir about her time with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The song is a wonderful tribute to enduring love, particularly with harmonized repetitions of “Oh baby, let go of your pain.”
“Dreaming” sounds like a song that could be a folk classic in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel. “Dreaming of the day that you’d be mine” is a catchy refrain, and this repeated line combined with some delicate strings makes for a definite earworm. Similarly, “So Good” is a beautiful depiction of love that doesn’t come across as cliché or cheesy. Personally, I love “Witness,” the most for channeling the jug band style of country. Even the lyrics seem inspired by the Bible Belt, with the familiar question of “Can I get a witness in the morning?” It’s too fun not to enjoy.
There isn’t a single miss on Always Been, and that is quite the feat. For acoustic fans of all sorts, give this one a go.