Monday, September 21, 2009

Blood of Mason - Inside the Mind of a Songwriter

by Doug MacRostie

What do you get when you mix one uber-creative individual and some quality time alone? Mason Jennings' new album "Blood of Man," that's what. With Mason playing all the instruments and doing the recording/production work, the album is a wonderfully raw and emotional ride through some very edgy and heartfelt material, and I'll be talking with Mason about it this Thursday at 6 on Centerstage MN.

What caught my attention first about "Blood of Man" was the electric guitar - it's a loud, distorted departure from "In the Ever," and while it's not the first time Mason has rocked hard - I think it's the most. The next thing that caught my attention was the violence and imagery; from coming home to find his family killed to putting a gun in the murderer's mouth in the song "Black Wind Blowing" - it's definitely a departure into a dark world. But it's still Mason, and the meanings and messages run deep. At he says, "I wrote about how hard it is to be 34 and be a parent and sane and married and true and positive and yourself and a man and funny and a decent person and a not decent person and human and in love. I turned the music up so loud so often that my ears rang every night. I wrote about death, of course. I wrote about life. I wrote about pain and addiction. And I let it flow and left it raw. I worked fast and I let my heart lead."

The song that touched me the most was "The Field;" it brought tears to my eyes as he sang about a father losing his son in Iraq, "Since you were a child, we've built our lives around you, Now how am I suppose to live, in this world without you," with the breaking line "I don't want no victory, I just want you back."

There is a lot to be said about an album like this; Mason has opened himself up and let it all out - and the final product is a phenomenal and engaging collection of songs that cover everything from God and love to death and sorrow. Be sure to tune in Thursday night at 6 to hear Mason and I talk about "Blood of Man."

Also this week I've got new music from Dalia and The Pines, and some re-released material from Greg Brown and The Jayhawks. If you missed the in-studio session last week with The Brothers Burn Mountain you can listen to the audio or check out pictures.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji. All interviews are archived at and the show is rebroadcast Sunday mornings at 6.

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