‘Tradition’ latest solo from Stuart Mason - a vital connection with America’s musical heritage(May 11, 2015)
There’s no fear for the continuance of tradition. Times and fashions in music may come and go but with albums like'Tradition', the latest solo work from Stuart Mason, long-lived roots are certain to retain their relevance. There’s ballads light and dark, gospel hope and resilience, and powerful presence of old-time folk. Sit back and take in a mix of masterful picking, rough-cut gutsy vocals and enough raw drive to take you places where tradition resides tough and enduring.
The musical sources for ‘Tradition’ range from North Carolina fiddler Joe Thompson, Missouri collector Max Hunter and Midwestern blues man Charlie Parr, there are songs with disputed authorship, multiple-versioned tunes with origins lost in time and each one presented by Mason in a manner that makes them as alive as today’s sunrise. Those influences provide the Appalachian echoes of ‘Red Rocking Chair’, the thankful narrative of ‘Oil In My Vessel’, the much reinterpreted ‘Pretty Saro’ and the equally well-travelled ‘Dark Hollow Blues’. For good measure there are also tune sets mixing emotion with vivacity in ‘Coleman’s March/ Fisher’s Hornpipe’ and ‘Flowers of Edinburgh/ Staten Island Hornpipe’.
With ‘Tradition’ Mason has forged a vital connection with America’s musical heritage that remains wholly relevant today.
Musicians on ‘Tradition’ include Ryan Davidson (bass fiddle, harmonica) Gary Arcemont and John Weed (fiddles)Tony Furtado (slide guitar) Kenny Blackwell (mandolin) David Brewer (tin whistle) and Amber Cross (vocals). Website: stuartmasonmusic.com
Reviewer: Tom Franks