Mason Jennings

Mason Jennings

Underneath The Roses

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Release Date: 09/15/2023
Format: LP
Label: Loosegroove Inc
Release type: Vinyl LP Pressing

The songs for my 2023 album Underneath the Roses were written in an unprecedented burst. My wife Josie had just given birth to our baby boy Western in March 2022. I hadn't written any songs in about a year. I had been dealing with the psychological after effects of the pandemic as well as the loss of my dad. So, when Western was born I didn't expect to be writing much. But immediately he was responding to music in a very intense way. Each morning I woke up with him around 6am and he and I would hang out on our own for a few hours while my wife slept and recovered from being up all night feeding him. Right away as I played guitar to him songs and music started coming to me. I had been in intense therapy the last few years as well and during this time my therapist suggested I write about my early childhood. So I tried it. And the flood gates broke open. Now, I write songs a lot and over the years I've written a bunch but, for each album I usually have 15 songs to choose from and narrow down to 11 or so. For this album, between May and November 2022 I wrote 48 songs!!! I could not believe it. Completely mind blowing for me. I'd put Western in his little swing chair and start playing him some guitar and new songs would come channeling through. He loved it. We'd take breaks and go walk down to the lake out back and check out the eagles, foxes, and herons that would be out there. He would be so tuned into it all. I've never experienced anything like it. After November he was too big for his swingy chair and the pattern changed and the song burst ended. I choose to think of this batch of songs as a gift and I'm excited to share them with you. They certainly uplifted me and connected me with the creative spirit, and Spirit in general, again. They cover all kinds of ground but, when I listen back, I think the central theme is overcoming fear with love.

Stone Gossard and Regan Hagar from Loosegroove Records helped me edit the 48 down to 11. I then enlisted the help of my Painted Shield bandmates to record the songs. I sang and played acoustic guitar and piano. Matt Chamberlain (who has played with everyone but most recently Bob Dylan) played drums and Jeff Fielder (who was Mark Lanegan's bandleader) played bass and electric guitars. The amazing Brittany Davis sang a sweet harmony on the album's closer. Josh Evans (who produced Pearl Jam's latest album) co-produced and mixed the album. It was recorded in St. Paul, Seattle, and Los Angeles. I called it Underneath Roses because I feel like these songs are musical roses and when I look below them there are many thorns and so much dirt and soil. All of it was needed for them to come into existence and bloom. It's been a long hard road of self-discovery and discernment for me the last few years and the roses wouldn't be here without what lies underneath. Hope you enjoy the music!

  1. Only Lovers Welcome
  2. Fear Is Wrong
  3. On the Lawn
  4. No Ordinary Friend
  5. Everyone Loves a Parade
  6. One by One
  7. Chemical Car
  8. In a Miracle
  9. Up Up and Away
  10. Golden Sun
  11. We Don't Live Here

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