Willy Mason's New Album, Carry On, Out August 20 via Communion Records
Five years in the making, Carry On finds Mason at the peak of his powers, being heralded by fans and critics alike as producing his best work to date. Touring and collaborating in 2012 with a new wave of folk influenced artists like Mumford & Sons and Ben Howard, Mason's inimitable gravel deep vocal delivery and unique rhythmic sound has resonated with a new audience as well as more than satisfying his loyal fan base who have followed Masons ascent from the progressive sound of his 2004 release Where the Humans Eat, which included the now classic song "Oxygen".
Carry On, produced by Dan Carey (MIA, Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand), is Mason's debut full-length album for Communion Records, the influential UK based record label co-founded by Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons). The label has been home to notable artists Ben Howard, Michael Kiwanuka, Gotye, Daughter and more. Communion's love and respect for Willy was cemented through Lovett touring with Mason - seeing the new songs take shape and evolve live. Lovett says:
"Willy Mason is one of the greatest Songwriters of our generation. In the UK his music is held up with the legends, and has inspired many people I know. Moving to the US this year and establishing Communion further in North America, I have been stunned by how little familiarity there is with Willy's music, I am stunned by how few people have been touched by his songs. And this emotion, one of injustice, is exactly why I started Communion with my friends and partners in the UK in the first place.
It takes Champions to bring this quality of music to the masses, it takes a music magazine editor championing to their readers, a radio DJ championing to their listeners, or the next person who you walk past in the street telling their best friend about the latest Willy Mason record whilst having a beer after a long day at work. It's either that, or we can just be spoon fed the latest musical package off the production line, mass marketed and mass advertised to the point that you know the inane words to the song and you don't even know why. Willy Mason sings songs to your soul, and it feels good."
Following a sold out March tour in the UK culminating at London's Koko (at 1,300 tickets) along with appearances at Glastonbury, Latitude, T In the Park, Isle of Wight, and more, Willy Mason will hit the road again with Mumford & Sons' performing at The Gentleman Of The Road Stopover Shows and will also be supporting Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. All shows are listed below.
Paste Magazinerecently premiered the video for "Talk Me Down", the lead single from Carry On. The video was directed by Toby Ashenheim who said, "'Talk Me Down' conjures a musical climate, a subtle exotic sound that bookends the track and sets a unique mood throughout the song. Visual ideas came quickly; mixing a jungle setting, with an earthy tactile look that suited the tone. The aesthetic was born largely out of necessity; using paper puppets and cut outs, we figured a way to build the world, and tell the story that echoes the song."
Willy was just 19 when he was discovered by an associate of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), which led to the release of his debut album, Where the Humans Eat on Oberst's Team Love record label. It was a record that showed us a young man with a tremendous, broad-oaked voice, a great songwriting talent, and a peculiar wisdom beyond his years. In 2007, he returned with If The Ocean Gets Rough, an album that only underlined his ability to capture the spirit of a time, a place, and a generation. Mason earned massive critical commercial in the UK, selling 150k records and performing to thousands as a headline artist.
In the years that followed, Mason kept himself busy: writing songs of course, but also playing in friends' bands, promoting shows, teaching music classes, as well as a little shell-fishing, and hosting a radio talk show called 'The Fish & Farm Report'. "The diversity and the range of experiences gave me a chance to learn a lot more about music." Mason says. "I got to further my musicianship. I came to see playing shows and entertainment as a fundamental part of society, and I'm just playing my role." Willy was also featured in the video for "No Room For Doubt" (approaching one million views on Youtube), a collaboration between he and breakout artist, Liana LaHavas, which helped launch her career in the UK.
All the while, Mason was accumulating a clutch of new songs that would make up 'Carry On'. On his relationship with Carey, Mason states: "Dan was a musical collaborator, and so he had a big influence on the sound," Mason says "He was able to make the beats sound so human, and so it felt like the tracks were laid and I could kind of let go a bit more."
Letting go is perhaps the greatest theme of Carry On. It's present in the rhythms - hints of dub and reggae infusing Mason's characteristic folk structures, and in his voice as well , which swings from gravel-deep to something higher, flightier and more fragile. And of course, it's also packed tight in these songs' lyrics; songs about self-doubt, about love and lost connections, the death of a friend, and a broader, bolder sense of the changing world around us. There is a hope rising anew. Mason says, "I think the album itself is about growing up and trying to find one's place," Mason says, "about making peace with the past, accepting it as part of one's identity and moving forward."
In celebration of the album release, Mason is offering fans the opportunity to download the album track, "Restless Fugitive", for free by visiting his website.
Willy Mason Tour Dates
081 - Toronto, ON @ TD Echo Beach ^
08.23 - Simcoe, ON @ Gentleman Of The Road Stopover #