Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Songs Pulled from a Hat

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Songs Pulled from a Hat

Article excerpt

"IT was finally able to make what I call my I first acoustic album," singer-songwriter JL and guitarist Jason Mraz says from his home in San Diego, California, one day after appearing as a guest mentor on the hit TV show American Idol.

Given that the former coffee-house performer has mostly played acoustic guitar on the seven million records and 48 million singles he has already sold in his short career, that may seem like an odd statement. But on his fifth full-length release, Yes! (Atlantic), Mraz has teamed up with the all-female LA folk-rock group Raining Jane -Mai Bloomfield, Chaska Potter, Mona Tavakoli, and Becky Gebhardt-to make an album with far less electric feel than his previous efforts. "For years and years, I've wanted to make an acoustic album," Mraz says. "Ever since I was signed, I thought I would be an acoustic artist, having really all my songs written on acoustic-I was always struggling with the pop production and then having to duplicate that on stage."

The low-key vibe on Yes! evokes a group of simpático musicians hanging out in a rehearsal space and picking up acoustic instruments while the tape is running. As Mraz explains, that's close to how the project came about. "I've been collaborating with the Janes for about seven years, and we've always loved the songs that we've written and the demos we've made," he says. "Last summer, we decided we'd listen to just the songs, and there before us was this really beautiful record. We said, let's pursue this-let's share with the world what we've been secretly working on for the last few years."

For a guy whose biggest hit to date, "I'm Yours," was written while surfing and hanging out in Hawaii, the songwriting process on Yes! …

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