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Carry On

Willy Mason

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Singer/songwriter Willy Mason has been writing and performing over the years, accruing the good faith and accolades of his fellow musicians, releasing an album with Conor Oberst's label Team Love (2004's Where the Humans Eat), and adding his vocals to Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan's 2010 album Hawk. With a voice as adenoidal as Jonathan Richman's but an adult worldview that relishes the paradoxes between fact and emotion, Mason signed up with producer Dan Carey, whose work with Kylie Minogue and Hot Chip provides an artful contrast to Mason's folk roots. Together, they create an album that's like a slimmed-down version of a Mitchell Froom production, with lots of strange mechanical beats intruding on the harmonies of the relatively straightforward "Talk Me Down." The opening track, "What Is This," benefits from the creeping atmosphere. "I Got Gold" lets Mason break his serious tone for a moment of joy, but the quiet guitar-mellotron title track features the intensity this brooding troubadour obviously prefers.

Customer Reviews

Introspective collection from a modern troubadour

This is Willy Mason’s best work yet, and it deserves a wider audience. It’s a collection of well-crafted pieces stitched together with Mason’s bluesy and sometimes dour vocal approach. The songs are introspective and personal, and the music is suitably stripped-down with a decidedly acoustic overlay.

The opener, “What Is This,” ambles along like tumbleweed across a dusty highway. Mason uses some good reverb, but another notable element in this song (and most of the others) is the drum machine that adds a subtle percussive layer to the rhythm guitar. Perhaps Mason felt that a live drummer would have overwhelmed the music with a fuller sound, but his choice works amazingly well.

“Pickup Truck” carries on the same unyielding but subtle beat and features some nice fuzz effects and vocal doubling. “Talk Me Down” is a folksy number that features Mason’s gentle falsetto.

“Restless Fugitive” is the centerpiece of the album and cut from the same moody vibe as “What Is This.” Mason’s honeyed voice transmits the loneliness and loss of a man too long on the road. The signature reverb guitar murmurs neon signs and passing cars. “Show Me The Way To Go Home” offers some consolation from its predecessor, but only in the music; Mason still has enough melancholy on tap to show you what the bleary morning after feels like.

Things get a bit brighter on “Into Tomorrow,” a meditative take on love and friendship that suits Mason’s fatigue-tinged vocal. He reaches his bounciest and most optimistic peak with “I Got Gold.” When he sings “I had fun” it’s almost in spite of his otherwise stony exterior.

“Painted Glass” brings back the reverb, but it’s more like a languid episode than a full-on epic. “Shadows In The Dark” is 50s-inspired mid-tempo filler, but it has nice blooming effects underneath the vocals.

Mason throws in another beautiful acoustic number, “Carry On,” where he paints the most direct portrait of life as a modern-day troubadour: wearily chasing his dreams and looking for that fire. He wraps it up with “If It’s The End,” with something akin to a cinematic summary of his oddly personal journey. Mason occupies that echelon of singer-songwriter who never quite sounds comfortable with a band, and his small venue vibe begs the question: will he be better known? Does he want to be? He’s still young, but “Carry On” is a surprisingly mature work that rewards repeated plays — and promises greater things to come.

He's got gold...

Will Carry On will awaken America to the talent of Willy Mason? We can hope.

Great album!

35+ Minutes of Perfect

Magnificent effort by the kid from the Vineyard.. I’m torn between hoping the world finds out about Willy and hoping his audience stays selective so one can still see his extraordinary live performances in small intimate venues…

I’d highly suggest buying the entire album and settling in for several run throughs by a candle light with your beverage of choice.. One of the most stunning voices and songsmiths on the 3rd rock right now.


Born: November 21, 1984 in Martha's Vineyard, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

With a sound that recalls Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash along with the cynicism of grunge and punk, nobody could believe wry singer/songwriter Willy Mason was only 19 when he appeared on the indie scene. Born and raised on Martha's Vineyard, Mason grew up with his parents' love of folk music. He loved it, too, but his teen years brought Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine into his life. Mason found their political and social messages much easier to identify with and soon combined folk's softer and looser...
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Carry On, Willy Mason
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Customer Ratings