Material: Jason Manns isn’t a name you’re bound to recognize. Nevertheless, his music has reached listeners far and wide. His songs have been featured on shows such as Supernatural and Parks and Recreation. His most recent album debuted at No. 14 on Billboard’s Folk/Americana charts. And he’s produced a number of artists for his homebrew label, Caroline County Record Company. Those recordings have also charted and been featured on TV. For this livestream, his last of 2021, Manns seduced listeners with no more than an acoustic guitar and his mellow-toned voice. A honeysuckle version of “Stand By Me” was one of the set’s gleaming standouts.
Musicianship: Manns plucks his instrument with such ability that every chord structure he tosses forth seems elementary. A brilliant songwriter and composer, the shapes of his wistful tunes are enough to hold any audience’s attention. Delectable lyrics only sweeten the deal. His singing voice oozes with masculine sensitivity. It’s the type of feel pioneered by Bob Seger and Joe Cocker, reimagined for a new generation.
Performance: Naturally comfortable before the camera, Manns has no trouble peeling off notes for an adoring virtual crowd. Oddly, he never mentioned the names of any songs, leaving listeners wondering whether the tune they’d heard was one of his written gems. One moment was devoted to wondering aloud whether he should scroll back through the comments section. Others featured the possibility of an upcoming United Kingdom tour and an announcement that donations of 1,000 notes or more (StageIt’s tipping currency) would earn the opportunity for a Skype chat. While engaging, none of these topics significantly boosted his showmanship score.
Summary: A performer can only go so far without accompaniment. Even still, singing solo while strumming an acoustic axe is an ideal setup for an intimate livestream, and Mann pulls this off with skill and verve. His obviously devoted fanbase no doubt finds his presentation enthralling. Unfortunately, digital busking can only spellbind so many listeners. Perhaps his band, The Station Breaks, offers more novelty than his troubadour-oriented side.
Contact: P.O. Box 14, Bowling Green, VA 22427