Morning Music: Mason Jennings’ Simple Life

Mason Jennings - Simple LifeAfter spending seven hours editing highly technical material and managing what feels like a million things, it’s hard to come back here and write about anything but myself. Or to just ramble about the state of the world. But I have these music and anniversary posts to do. I still kind of enjoy them. That’s especially true of the music posts when I’m doing someone like Mason Jennings.

The truth is that I can imagine meeting him in a bar. We both slump down across from each other on those wooden benches that the best bars have. And we wouldn’t even have to talk. He’s ten years younger than I am, but we’re both old enough to know the truth of life, which is a quiet acceptance of the way things are. We have no illusions that the universe can be any other way. We just drink our pints and leave. And we go out and continue on doing what we do. Because that is what we were born to do. There are pleasures, certainly. But mostly, there is regret. And the regret just gets bigger and bigger until we think it is more massive than our souls.

Mason Jennings’ fourth album was Simple Life. Yesterday, I had the thought that he sounded a lot like Nick Drake. Obviously I’m not talking about his voice or guitar style. But his outlook on life. That feeling is even more clear on this album. And what’s amazing is that he wasn’t even thirty when he made the album. But then, I’ve always been a slow learner.

Today, I’m featuring “Hospitals and Jails” off Simple Life — a song that tells the story of true love. But in a Jacques Brel twist, we learn in the last verse that she is gone and that he never managed to tell her that without her, he was damned to hospitals and jails. It’s a beautiful song.

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