"Make yourself at home," is the opening line of the excellent eight-song debut by Minneapolis singer/songwriter Mason Jennings. It is an appropriate opening line, because this album will seem like familiar favorite after just one listen. If Jennings knows anything about music, he knows how to write a hook. But the songs here are not made up of just catchy melodies. Like Paul Simon, he also knows how to capture a mood and character with a few short lines, and the fact that all of this is set to an undeniable hook and groove is just icing on the cake. The disc is mostly acoustic, folk-pop with an intimate feel that is most likely derived from Jennings having recorded and performed the disc entirely alone. This recording process ends up making this CD sound like a poppy version of Springsteen's Nebraska. If Mason Jennings were signed to a major label, we would possibly have a new and better Dave Matthews on our hands. That's not to say that the artist is particularly similar to Matthews, but if he had more exposure, his already massive Minneapolis cult following would grow exponentially, much like the college-friendly Matthews did in the mid- to late '90s. As a debut, this is an amazingly realized work. A distinct sound and vocal style is evident, and there's not one clunker on this entire disc.
Mason Jennings Review
by Dan Lee