.

Breaking Artist: Mason Jennings

July 9, 2008 2:54 PM ET

Who: Minnesota folk king Mason Jennings, who gets spiritual and explores where babies come from on his new album In the Ever.

Sounds Like: Having just signed to Brushfire Records, the easy comparison is Jennings' good friend, current tour mate and Brushfire owner Jack Johnson. But Jennings also draws from the Minnesota rock scene, Comes a Time-era Neil Young and his favorite band, Led Zeppelin — all channeled through acoustic guitars. "Whenever I have electric guitars going, my voice just disappears. I'm too mellow," Jennings says of his aspirations to be Robert Plant.

Vital Stats:

• When naming the album, Jennings got some inspiration from his son. "My five-year-old is always going around saying profound things. One day he said to me, 'Dad, do you remember before I was born when I was in the ever?' I thought that was so heavy. There's a lot of spiritual themes on the record, and the title just fit." What does "the ever" look like? "Above space, there's tornadoes. That's what my son always says."

• Jennings spend his childhood in Hawaii and Pittsburgh before settling in Minneapolis. "I dropped out of high school and started traveling around. I came to Minneapolis and felt really at home there. Plus, bands like the Replacements and Hüsker Dü came out of there." Despite a decade living within the Twin Cities' music scene, Jennings has yet to encounter the Gopher State's most famous resident. "I've seen Prince around town a few times," Jennings says, "but I haven't had any run-ins with him yet."

• Jennings has already contributed songs to soundtracks for both Shrek 2 (even though the song didn't make the actual film) and I'm Not There (cover two Bob Dylan songs.) He recorded some music with the Shins' James Mercer for 180 Degrees South, a documentary about surfing legends the Malloy Brothers' trip to Patagonia, Chile. The soundtrack is due out later this year.

Hear It Now: In the Ever is out now. Click above for more on Jennings, including a performance from this year's Bonnaroo.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com