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Music Review: Covers with Friends, Jason Manns

By: Caitlin Coughlin

Jason Manns’ Covers with Friends is the kind of love letter whose ink bleeds with fallen tears as the receiver clutches it to their bodice. You may think this is exaggerated hyperbole, but I assure you it is not.

I just returned from experiencing this album for the first time on a beautiful sunset walk up the solitary side of a mountain, a walk I often enjoy alone with my dogs and an entire favorite album. I tend to prefer albums that can be enjoyed as a single experience, sung along to beginning to end, played over and over perhaps while thinking about something else.

This is not that kind of album. This fragile, beautiful gift cannot be judged on its flawless technical merit, nor on the instrumentation, nor the gorgeous strains of the harmonies in all the stellar performances found here. Although they do a fantastic job on every front, it wouldn’t be fair to hold this up in a stack of other similar albums, were there such a thing, because half the people on this album are in no way professional singers.

The non-pro guests on this album are Jason’s friends and several beloved member of the Supernatural family who happen to have lovely singing voices, whom Jason has somehow managed to cajole, wheedle, and possibly beat at cards to manage to get them to come out and play.

These are all such intimate performances. The trust every person on this album is placing in us in sharing their voices with us, this soul-baring, terribly vulnerable thing, is a gift that takes my breath away.  Hearing these people I love so much, and to whom I am already so grateful, make this sparkling, crystalline thing for us – trusting us to be gentle with the souls they are revealing – well it fills my heart and my eyes until I have to stop in the middle of a meadow and sob for a moment, so grateful for this family.

Thank you Jason and friends.
May we be worthy of your trust.

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