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Concert preview: Mason Jennings at the High Dive

by Greg Allard

Mason Jennings brings his indie-folk arsenal of thoughtful and touching songs to the High Dive this Saturday night. The abundantly creative Jennings, whose career has spanned roughly 10 full-length studio albums and a number of EPs since 1997, has worked along side such notable artists as Guster, Modest Mouse and Jack Johnson to name just a few.

Born in Hawaii, Jennings moved with his family to Pittsburgh when he was very young and learned how to play guitar at the age of 13. It was at this time he started writing songs and his path to being a career-musician began.

That road continued when he dropped out of school, moved to Minnesota and made a name for himself performing at local venues in Minneapolis as the Mason Jennings Band. In 1999 he and the band won the “Clicked to Pick” award from the Minneapolis newspaper City Pages.

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From 1999 to 2007, Jennings paid his dues touring nationally while prolifically releasing Mason Jennings (1999), Birds Fly Away (2000), Living in the Moment EP (2002), Century Spring (2002), Simple Life (2002), Use Your Voice (2004), Use Your Van DVD (2004), and Boneclouds (2006).

 

In 2007, Jennings got a great opportunity when he was asked to record two Dylan covers, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carol,” and “The Times They Are a Changing” for the soundtrack for the film I’m Not There.

In 2008, he signed on with Johnson’s Brushfire label and made two albums with the record company: In the Ever (2008) an album/song that was inspired when Jennings’ son described where he was before he was born, and Blood of Man (2009) – both to wide critical acclaim.

After “Blood of Man,” however, Jennings decided to go independent, and in 2011 he released another critically lauded LP Minnesota.

Always Been (released 11/12/13), perhaps his best record to date, is the result of a winter he spent snuggled in his cabin-studio in the woods of Minnesota with only a few instruments and a tape recorder, and recorded 30 songs on a cassette tape. Producer Bo Ramsey helped Jennings go through the material and create an LP with possibly a fuller sound than Jennings has ever put out before. To help promote the album, Jennings also directed and animated his own music videos.

Mason Jennings will play at the High Dive tonight with Rebecca Pidgeon and HR Gertner leading off the show at 9 pm.

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