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Guitarist Shaun Verreault, drummer Safwan Javed, and bassist Earl Pereira all went to the same Saskatoon high school in Saskatchewan, a Canadian prairie province known for agriculture. The band took its name from a canning jar, although Wide Mouth Mason's sound is rooted in the blues, not country music. Influences include Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Jimi Hendrix. Aside from lead singer Verreault's youthful voice, WMM managed to breathe new life into the blues-rock trio concept and sound much more mature than their average age of 21 when they released their self-titled album, an impressive big-label debut of all-original material. The band was courted by several labels before signing a deal with Warner Music Canada for two to six albums with worldwide distribution. WMM planned to re-record and re-release Nazarene, a previous independent album. The trio excels at performing live, opening for ZZ Top, George Thorogood, and respected Canadian band Big Sugar early in its career. WMM went over well at the 1997 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, jamming with Me'shell and Joshua Redman, and impressing Van Morrison so much that he asked Verreault to join him on-stage. ~ Mark Allan