Minneapolis singer-songwriter Mason Jennings will release a new studio album, Always Been, on November 12th. In advance of that set, the acclaimed indie folk artist’s 11th proper record since 1998, Jennings reveals “Wilderness,” a heartfelt and humble winner.
“The song feels like the heart of my new album,” Jennings tells Rolling Stone. “These two lines sum it up best, I think: ‘Embrace the demons with all their claws, embrace this life with all its scars . . . ‘ It is a song about facing pain – humility. Facing things we’d rather not in hopes of moving forward. It is not an easy task, alone out there in our inner wilderness, trying to find our way home.”
Always Been marks a change in approach for Jennings, who recruited producer Bo Ramsey (Iris DeMent, Greg Brown) instead of taking his usual self-recorded route. The album also counts what Jennings calls “dream collaborations” with DeMent and Neil Young drummer Chad Cromwell.
In support of the disc, which he tracked at the Minneapolis studio the Terrarium, Jennings is currently in the midst of a fall tour, which touches down Thursday at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After a Friday performance at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh, Jennings takes a two-week break from the road before resuming a month of live shows on November 8th at the Bluebird Theater in Denver.