If you’ve been sitting around lamenting the passing of Elliott Smith or the long wait for the next Golden Smog or The Jayhawks release, lament no more. You need to get yourself over to http://www.masonbrothersmusic.com/ and check out Mason Brothers.
This folk-rock group from Richmond, VA - formed by brothers Christian and James Mason - are a breath of fresh air in the genre of alternative country / alternative folk-rock. Their intricate combination of great lyric writing, superb compositions, and lush fingerpicking is sure to take them far. They’ve been around a few years and have gotten well-deserved press in the Richmond area. I think they’re primed to go a lot further and I’m hoping to see them in the tri-state NY area soon. Their most recent release “The Ivy in the Orange Grove” could be the breakthrough release that takes them nationwide.
From their website bio:
Mason Brothers are a contemporary roots band whose music bridges the gap between rock & roll, 1970s British folk and 21st century Americana. The band began as a partnership between Christian and James Mason, two Virginia-born brothers who grew up in Richmond and attended college at the nearby University of Virginia. Mason Brothers made their official debut with 2008′s The Sun, the Moon & the Sea, a stark album that focused on the band’s strengths: nimble guitar fingerpicking, subtle arrangements, and understated, softly sung melodies.
A flurry of TV and movie placements helped promote the band’s music outside of Virginia. By the time their sophomore release Ghost Season rolled around in 2011, Mason Brothers had expanded their sound considerably, adding louder dynamics and a touch of Pink Floyd’s spacey rock & roll to the mix. Ghost Season attracted its own share of publicity, including a ringing endorsement from iTunes, who showcased the self-produced album as a “New and Noteworthy” release on the iTunes store home page. Meanwhile, the band continued writing new songs, added pianist/songwriter Ben Willson to the lineup, and cracked the iTunes singer/songwriter charts in Fall 2012 with their single “Game of Cards.” That song helped pave the way for their third album, Ivy in The Orange Grove, which arrived later that year.
In going back and listening to their first two releases I find I’m enjoying them more and more. The track “Slowly Turn” from their Ghost Season release gave me a chill at how great a song it is. I’ve added it below. As noted above, I remain fascinated by the parallels to groups like The Jayhawks and Golden Smog that regularly find their way into my headphones. Mason Brothers is doing to be there too.
Enjoy these gems…