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If the Ocean Gets Rough

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iTunes Review

The second album from Martha’s Vineyard–based wunderkind troubadour Willy Mason continues his development as one of his generation’s most exciting songwriters. (His debut, Where the Humans Eat—recorded when he was just 19—is mature beyond its years.) Here, Rosanne Cash and his mom add harmonies, and his local friends bring cello and other natural sweeteners. But while the additional ingredients spice things up considerably, Mason’s likable dustbowl drawl is what centers the endeavor. He sings somewhere between Bob Dylan, Jonathan Richman, and Beck, with a lazy and breezy indifference that’s at odds with his emotionally restless lyrical concerns. “Gotta Keep Walking” uses the leisurely pace of mid-tempo Ron Sexsmith to cloak its shuffling concerns. “The World That I Wanted” and “We Can Be Strong” sway with bright arrangements that offer optimism where fate attempts to trap the young bard. The horns that punctuate and the strings that saw through “Simple Town” reflect an underlying ambition that hints at Mason’s growing complexity as a writer and observer of life and music.


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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Top Albums and Songs by Willy Mason

If the Ocean Gets Rough, Willy Mason
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  • $12.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Alternative, Indie Rock
  • Released: Mar 05, 2007

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