After winning fans through a series of small-label releases, Mason Jennings gained major label exposure with 2006’s Boneclouds. He was more than ready — this Minneapolis-based artist is a worthy heir to the folk-based singer/songwriter tradition of the 1960s and ‘70s. Jennings’ vocals and melodies recall Plastic Ono Band-period John Lennon, a connection underscored by Noah Georgeson’s nicely sparse production. Acoustic guitar, piano and drums (played with notable verve by David King) provide the skeleton for Boneclouds’ sound. But it’s the lyrics that are the real meat here. Whether he’s serenading a lover with surrealist compliments (“Gentlest Hammer”), telling a tall tale from New Orleans (“Jackson Square”) or delineating a bittersweet break-up scene (“Moon Sailing On The Water”), Jennings’ words linger in the mind like waking dreams. For all the weird incidents and spiritual conflicts haunting these songs, there’s an overall positive outlook that comes through. Boneclouds is a significant advance for this still-evolving talent and ranks among the best singer/songwriter albums of the year.