Having spent most of his career pursuing a style of music built around his earthly, expressive voice, and underdog demeanour, it’s interesting to see Willy Mason continue to sell-out small to medium sized venues without finding the need the make a push into larger locations.
Perhaps a sign of his laid-back style, and comforting sounds, Mason’s persona, as with his performance tonight, appears completely at ease in the intimacy of The Cluny.
Aided by a three-strong band, including fiddler and support act Nina Violet, Mason’s live sound captures both the strong and delicate side of his recorded work, perhaps closest in feel to the turn of the century sound of classic high lonesome, Americana, act Whiskeytown, including light strings and counterpoint female harmonies. Comprised mostly of material from 2012’s ‘Carry on’ tonight’s set sees the band reaching for the centre of Mason’s work and the craving to make loneliness and isolation feel uplifting, a feat they achieve most noticeably on, of course, ‘Oxygen’. Mason, in particular, is in fine form tonight, supporting the show by bookending his chase of the intimacies held within his musical style, with humour and conversation.
As with Mason’s recorded work, tonight is a testimony to balancing community and aloneness. It’s a shame more people can’t see this.