Release Date: Mar 20, 2007
Record label: Astralwerks
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Willy Mason managed to impress a lot of people before his debut album, Where the Humans Eat, came out in 2004. His earnestness, his clear love of American folk music, and his warm melodies won him fans among other artists as well as among the general public. His sophomore album, If the Ocean Gets Rough, shows these same characteristics, but it also shows him at a point where his flaws can't be as easily brushed off, or blamed on his youth.
He's still only 22, but on his second album Willy Mason sounds as though he has the weight of the entire messed-up world on his shoulders. Whether addressing the existential doubt of college dropouts, bemoaning the way "vultures copyright the word 'free'" or anticipating a time when "the rich shake in their shoes until they learn to sing the blues", his voice has a droning quality apt to make listeners feel as though they are drowning in society's ills. On his debut album, 2004's Where the Humans Eat, Mason's dour tendencies were neatly offset by his ramshackle musicianship, but here the rambunctious clatter gives way to a sound more smooth, adult and portentous.
Today's young artists face the combined challenge of breathing life into established genres while also having something fresh to say. Twenty-two-year-old Willy Mason is one such relative newcomer. He's drawn comparisons to Bright Eyes and Beth Orton and has become something of a phenom in the UK. After several EPs and two LPs, the Massachusetts resident still needs a bit more seasoning.