Jason Mraz – “Tonight, Not Again”
Sometimes a musician makes better music in the studio than at a live concert. Jason Mraz is not one of those. This unique singer-songwriter-guitarist from Virginia has built a loyal fan base by touring the world and putting on amazing shows. With one listen to his second album, “Tonight, Not Again: Jason Mraz Live,” you will see that this self-proclaimed “down-home” boy’s true place is on the stage. Recorded at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee, Mraz and his band, along with guest John Popper of Blues Traveler, give live renditions of 14 original songs, seven of which are from Mraz’s great debut album, “Waiting For My Rocket To Come.” This CD is a showcase of Mraz’s special brand of music: a blend of rock, folk, jazz, country and even rap. He injects his heart, soul and personality into his performances with a lovely voice, clever word play, and love of jazz scatting. Beautifully written songs (“Sleeping To Dream” and “After An Afternoon”) tug on your heartstrings, while others show off Mraz’s fun rapping and scatting abilities. Some of my favorite tracks include “Not So Usual,” an ode to a strange yet loving girl, and “Curbside Prophet,” a sort of country/rap autobiography – one of his signature songs, according to fans like me. I love how Mraz makes the whole concert experience more personal by interacting with his audience. He makes everyone his friend by chatting, giving them compliments (“You’re an attractive bunch!”) and even asking for an “Amen!” Every time I listen to the album, I feel as though I am actually in the screaming crowd of fans, being serenaded by Mr. Mraz. To some critics, releasing a live sophomore album is risky, but I believe it was the right move for Mraz. This CD is not only meant to show that he is at his prime on stage, but also to give those who have yet to see him in concert a glimpse of how fantastic his show is. As a bonus, this live album comes with a DVD of the performance, which will increase your enjoyment. With all the teenybopper acts out there, Jason Mraz is a breath of fresh air. I recommend “Tonight, Not Again” to anyone interested in an awesome, one-of-a-kind concert experience. You don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this album. If you ever have the chance to see him in concert, I suggest you go. I fell in love with his outstanding songs, lyrics and personality, and I think you will, too.