Willy Mason [Informed Songwriter] is scheduled to release his second full length album entitled "If the Ocean Gets Rough" March 20th, 2007 on Astralwerks.
In November of 2003 at the Knitting Factory, I saw Willy Mason with his brother Sam Mason on drums open for Bright Eyes. He won that audience over, especially me. He casually said at the end of the set “I have like five CD’s in the back, if anyone is interested" I think he recorded them before the show.
I had to see him again and again. Everything about him captured my attention, his guitar playing, informed writing and relaxed and authentic manner. He has a gift for melody. I love how he plays the guitar using strong resonating and alternating bass notes. He adds strumming and picking with interludes of harmonic surprises down the fret. Although he is 21 year old his voice sounds weathered and worn.
While listening to his lyrics, it is evident that he is curious, smart and well read. He exposes social and political hypocrisy as he searches for deeper meaning and understanding of life’s daunting conflicts. He weaves a personal subtext within his songwriting while tackling issues of poverty, war, materialism and hedonism. It is the inference that adds weight and gives the lyrics cerebral edginess. Leaving the listeners brain in overdrive.
I've seen him live eight times in different settings alone, with Nina Violet on viola and with an assortment of players that worked on his freshman CD "Where the Humans Eat". The most recent touring band includes Nina, Sam Mason on drums with Colin Ruel on guitar and Farley Glavin on bass. They just finished an 18 stop tour opening for Radiohead in May and June 2006. I was lucky to see the band play the Living Room on July 21st 2006. The set included all new material with the exception of one song. The melodies, time changes and lyrics were memorable. The band sounded strong and confident. There was something different about Willy. He seemed more determined and serious. This time rather then being discovered, he seemed ready and eager to present his music.
Check out his new site called G-ma's Basement It is a home based online retailer selling local music from the Island of Martha's Vineyard. This includes some of Willy's live sessions with cousin Zak Borden, and past releases of Willy and his talented mother Jemima James.
"Equal parts hobo and Holden Caufield, nineteen-year-old Willy Mason blends precocious lyricism, spare, jangly guitar, and a world-weary voice that sounds older than his years." - Rolling Stone