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Playing around

Jason Bennett

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CD release party Its a Grind Coffee House, 3236 Centennial Blvd., 635-2411 Friday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m. no cover.

"I've never been cool enough to be a rock star," says folk musician Jason Bennett.

Granted, while he exhibits a certain inner awareness and calm demeanor, Bennett's not immediately striking in person. Still, the singer's easy tone and thoughtful manner make him both an easy conversationalist and a convincing singer-songwriter.

"I like to just play softly in the crowd," he says. "I don't like to put on a show. That's not my style."

This unassuming, introspective quality is certainly distinctive of his latest and fourth CD, Mindchange. On it, Bennett comes across as both world-weary and hopeful, nave and cynical. It's sweetly melancholic, acoustic folk that effortlessly mixes with country not unlike the early material of the singer's hero, Bob Dylan.

Bennett balks, though, when asked to compare his sound to contemporary country. Despite the twangy edges of the record and the frequent use of mandolins and fiddles, he's quick to point out that his music lacks the "boring lyrics" and flashiness of that genre.

"I can't stand it at all," Bennett says.

JT Rogstad

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