Mason Jennings is a post-folk singer-songwriter with literate, often political lyrics. Born in Hawaii in 1975, and growing up outside of Pittsburgh, Jennings' father moved to Minneapolis and told his son of the thriving music scene. Dropping out of high school when he was 16, Jennings left school and moved to Minneapolis to focus on his own music full-time. "I felt it was worthwhile to put all my time and energy into music," Jennings said in a Star Tribune article in 2000. He put in his dues playing gigs for little or no money on the vast Twin Cities coffeeshop and open mic circuit and gradually built a dedicated following. Originally a drummer, he now primarily plays acoustic guitar and has begun adding piano instrumentation to his music. His self-titled first record earned him airplay on Radio K, and a series of popular gigs at the 400 Bar. He sold 10,000 copies of his first album out of the back of his van without the help of a record company or any corporate backing. His grass-roots approach has gained him great respect from fellow musicians and was the subject of an Andy Grund documentary about Mason called "Use Your Van."
The Mason Jennings Band won City Pages' 1999 Picked to Click poll of local music critics. A severe case of mononucleosis followed (possibly caused by the notorious "Picked to Click curse"). The illness delayed his second release, and changed the direction of his music to a more somber and introspective tone.
His original band included fellow Twin Cities musician Robert Skoro on bass and Chris Stock on drums. Later records included a series of lineup changes, experiments with alternative instrumentation, and changes in level of overdubs and post-production.
Jennings formed his own label, Architect Records to release his records.
In October 2005, Jennings signed with Glacial Pace, under Sony's Epic label, and on May 16, 2006, he released his major label debut, Boneclouds.
- Mason Jennings (1998)
- Birds Flying Away (2000)
- Simple Life (2002)
- Century Spring (2002)
- Use Your Voice (2004)
- Boneclouds (2006)
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