When Mason Jennings sings, he doesn't just sing with his voice; he sings with his heart. Whether he's on a folk kick or in a rock mood, listening to him is an intimate experience.
The Minnesota native is not just a musician. He is an agent for peace, a humanitarian, a husband and a father. As he maintains his humility, his spirit comes alive through his music.
Since his album Blood of Man was released in September, he has been touring with his new band, made up of close friends.
Although Jennings has played the majority of his career solo and records all the instrumentation on his studio tracks, his new dynamic is more of a rock show than anything else. There will be electric guitar and bass players, along with a variety of drums on stage.
"It's more expandable," Jennings said of the new setup. "They all bring their own personality."
Blood of Man provided an opportunity for Jennings to unleash his rock persona, inspired by his son's curiosity about the electric guitar. He describes his songs as dark and joyful at the same time.
The guitar, piano, harmonica and drums were all done personally by Jennings.
"It's an extension of what I do," Jennings said. "Just a little more raw."
For now, Jennings is just enjoying his new sound on tour. Musically, Jennings said his inspiration comes from a combination of new experiences on the road, the people around him every day and whatever resonates with him at the time. The songwriting comes when he's off the road and has time to get quiet in his studio and "let it flow."
Jennings' shows take up all his energy when he's on the road, he said. His tour ends on Thanksgiving and he'll be home for the next three months, ready to immerse himself in new record ideas.
"It really depends on what I'm interested in hearing," he said, "Some days, I wake up and want to hear aggressive music."
"I want to do both polarities — the intimate stuff and then the rock," Jennings said. "I like when shows are changing throughout the night."
Whatever mood Jennings might be in, expect to hear quality music. His sounds will leave you electrically charged and acoustically vulnerable. It's really the intimacy he creates that draws people to him.