India Arie
Blessid Union of Souls
Tracy Chapman
Ani Difranco
Fisk Univ. Jubilee Singers
Gil Scott Heron
Ice Cube
Mason Jennings
Talib Kweli
Bob Marley
Curtis Mayfield
Prussian Blue
Public Enemy
Jill Scott
Tupac Shakur
The Band
Kanye West


8 Mile
A Time to Kill
American History X
Bend It Like Beckham
Boys Don't Cry
Gentleman's Agreement
G.I. Jane
The Green Mile
Guess Who
Hotel Rwanda
I Am Sam
Malcolm X
Mi Familia
Mississippi Burning
Out of the Ashes
Pleasantville (1)
Pleasantville (2)
Real Women Have Curves
Schindler's List
Something New
The Birth of a Nation
The Pianist
To Kill a Mockingbird

Mason Jennings

Mason Jennings was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1975.  When he was a child, Jennings and his father moved to Minneapolis, MN where Jennings’ love for music grew.  Sometimes, his father would give him tapes of bands that were circling the Minneapolis music scene.  At 13, Jennings learned to play the guitar then started writing songs.  At 16, he had his sights on a career in music.  He dropped out of school and moved to Minneapolis to work on his music.  Three years later, Jennings was receiving attention and offers from record companies, but that didn’t suit his tastes.  He wanted to work in a way that would allow him the creative freedom he was craving.  He began crafting his first album, the self-titled “Mason Jennings,” which featured him alone with his guitar.  He produced and released the album entirely by himself.  It played on local radio stations and soon Jennings was booked to play at a local Minneapolis Bar.  This is where he developed his powerful fan base. After that, Jennings began working with bassist Robert Skoro and drummer Chris Stock.  This was the birth of the Mason Jennings Band.  They began work on a second album until Jennings became ill; his illness halted their work for six months.  When Jennings finally did come back,  he decided to trash the live favorites he had used and opted for a new set for his album “Birds Flying Away,” which often featured strong political songs.  Later, Chris Stock left and jazz musician Edgar Oliveira became the new percussionist.  Jennings continued to tour and eventually signed with Architect Records.  Mason Jennings has released five albums and continues to tour extensively. 

Mason Jennings is a poet, a lyricist whose words speak powerfully about love and politics in a unique way.  His love songs are never trite, contrived or cliché.  Instead he always seems to have a matchless way of delivering his message.  His voice is bold and distinct.  In some songs, his voice is fresh and upbeat; in others he sounds scratchy, bluesy and darker.

One of my favorite Mason Jennings songs is “Adrian” which depicts a man about to be lynched who is talking to his son.  The song preaches love not hate, even when hatred would be expected and accepted.  The voice in the song tells his son to let “your burning hatred go” and to know oneself, to know that fear is where it begins.  The words are beautiful and melody is backed with a simple acoustic guitar-sound. 


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