A Mann in full - Singer-songwriter debuts his ‘Evening News’
Evening News, John Mann’s latest record, is what happens when a rocker unplugs. He says he chose an intimate approach based on how the songs would come across live.
“It’s different in that I wasn’t worried about making something that is rockin’. The last record I made was done with a band — a really great one, I might add — and it was made with live performance in mind,” he says. “This one was made knowing that I might often be performing these songs in an acoustic setting, without a big band. It definitely has a full-band sound on many of the songs, but in a more laid-back, folky kind of way.”
The relaxed atmosphere of News supports Mann’s realistic, but not maudlin, lyrical take on the world. “It’s just my view of the world, both the good and the bad sides,” he says. “Some of the songs are a little more serious, but it is definitely not a ‘dark’ record by any stretch. Most of my songs have at least a bit of a happy ending in there somewhere.”
Each track brims with vulnerability, quaint happiness and reminiscence. But it’s the ambiguity that’s the album’s strong point. Mann balances selflessness with enough personal anecdotes, including the birth of his daughter, to claim ownership.
“A lot of the songs were written before my daughter was born, but I’d say knowing that she was on her way played into some of the lines here and there,” he says. “I am a very happily married person, which makes the songs of that tilt ones that always have a positive outlook. I’d say the only songs that aren’t quite as rosy are the ones that don’t have anything to do with relationships, and more to do with the current state of the world.”
The choice of accompaniments and recording was just as tediously fruitful, explains Mann, who tracked most of the album at a home studio and then used longtime local engineer Howie Gano to help with the rest.
In the end, Mann’s ambition was simple: “I just wanted to get another album out there.”
John Mann CD release
Saturday, Aug. 2
The Rudyard Kipling
422 W. Oak St.