If you're going to bounce from Hawaii to Pittsburgh to Minneapolis, then you're going to end up with a voice that mixes sun, smog and snow. Mason Jennings proves that perfectly, and he's become the full embodiment of the soulful singer-songwriter. We got into Jennings from hearing his cover of "The Times They Are A-Changing" in the amazing Dylan film I'm Not There, and since then we've checked in on his output whenever possible. He remains simple and stark, with a kind of heartbroken optimism that lends a tune like "Bitter Heart" real body and listenability. Then, just when you're nice and low, he reaches down and gives a hand up in something like "Raindrops on the Kitchen Floor," a tune that could give Paul McCartney a run for his money. We're living in crazy times, and Jennings is a man with his thumb firmly on the century's irregular heartbeat.
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