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 â€œPatti & Robert,â€ which draws influence from Just Kids, Patti Smithâ€™s memoir about her time with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe. The song is a wonderful tribute to enduring love, particularly with harmonized repetitions of â€œOh baby, let go of your pain.â€
â€œDreamingâ€ sounds like a song that could be a folk classic in the vein of Simon & Garfunkel. â€œDreaming of the day that youâ€™d be mineâ€ is a catchy refrain, and this repeated line combined with some delicate strings makes for a definite earworm. Similarly, â€œSo Goodâ€ is a beautiful depiction of love that doesnâ€™t come across as clichÃ© or cheesy. Personally, I love â€œWitness,â€ the most for channeling the jug band style of country. Even the lyrics seem inspired by the Bible Belt, with the familiar question of â€œCan I get a witness in the morning?â€ Itâ€™s too fun not to enjoy.
There isnâ€™t a single miss on Always Been, and that is quite the feat. For acoustic fans of all sorts, give this one a go.