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Inspired by son’s birth, Mason Jennings releases new album ‘Underneath the Roses’

Mason Jennings stands in front of a wood fence with the sun shining brightly behind his left shoulder. He is wearing a blue shirt with a multi-colored cardigan over it. He has black hair, a mustache and short beard.
Mason Jennings
Mason Jenning's new album Underneath the Roses is out now on Loosegroove Records.

Mason Jennings joined Centerstage Minnesota on Sept. 29, 2023.

ST. PAUL – When an artist has a newborn child it can be difficult to get the creative juices flowing.

“Usually when a baby’s little it is sort of like that’s your creative outlet, you know,” said Mason Jennings on Centerstage Minnesota, “so I wasn’t expecting to be writing at all.”

A floral drawing with green leaves and red and orange flowers. Writing that says "Mason Jennings" and "Underneath the Roses."
The album art for Mason Jennings's Underneath the Roses album.

Underneath the Roses, the St. Paul based singer-songwriter's latest album, was written in a burst of creativity following the birth of his son Western in 2022. Jennings described the process as a portal opening that led to a large batch of songs.

“Every morning I’d wake up with him for a couple hours and I started playing him some guitar,” said Jennings, “and then before I knew it over the summer I’d written like over 40 songs.”

To complete the songs, he turned to frequent collaborator and Painted Shield bandmate Stone Gossard, founder and longtime guitarist for Pearl Jam. Gossard and Painted Shield filled out the songs, giving Underneath the Roses a more melodic and 60’s pop inspired sound than his previous folk album.

Jennings is still shocked by his bandmates. “I mean it’s mind blowing to me. As a kid in the 90’s I can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’re writing so many songs together.”

Painted Shield, which features Brittany Davis and Matt Chamberlain alongside Gossard and Jennings, has released two albums since 2020.

Jennings has one upcoming show in Minnesota, a Nov. 25 album release show at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

For more information on the solo album and his work with Painted Shield, listed above.

Centerstage Minnesota, Fridays at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. on KAXE/KBXE, is made possible by the citizens of Minnesota through the Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. 

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Malachy started his radio career at a college radio station, where he played weird music in the middle of the night to possibly no one. On a good night maybe his parents were listening. Nonetheless, he was hooked on public radio and is still doing it today. He joined Northern Community Radio in 2022, where he gets to share his passion for local music as Producer of Centerstage Minnesota, an all Minnesota music show airing Fridays at 2pm.