Mason Jennings: Always Been
Unlike some of his previous albums, Mason Jennings ditched the woods and solitude and brought in a band of musicians who could support his singing and guitar playing, for his 10th studio
album. Always Been, produced by Bo Ramsey, is full of warm melodies and sweet choruses, exemplified by “Dreaming,” a track that sounds as if we woke Jennings up from a summer reverie. “Instrument” has a Lou Reed feel to it, especially in the phrasing of the verses, while “So Good,” complete with female harmonies and harmonica, is the brightest, most uplifting song on the album. “Patti and Robert,” which is about the relationship between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, is a standout: It is more structurally complex than the other tracks, yet perfectly illustrates Jennings’ talent for songwriting.