After spending two years on the road playing shows in Europe and the United States, Willy Mason returned to his home in Martha’s Vineyard to rest and write new songs. And when it came time to record his new CD, If the Ocean Gets Rough, Mason enlisted the help of his musically talented family and friends.
Recorded at Long View Farm in North Brookfield, Mass., If the Ocean Gets Rough features Mason’s mom, Jemima James, singing backing vocals on several tracks, younger brother Sam playing drums on all the tracks and cousin Zak Borden playing mandolin. Several of Mason’s fellow Martha’s Vineyard musicians — Farley Glavin, Nina Violet, Colin Ruel and Marciana Jones — also contributed to the project.
A folk singer in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, the 22-year-old Mason admits to being voyeuristic of things going on around him.
“I like to observe and reach my conclusions,” Mason says. “My instinct is always curiosity versus outrage when I see things. I want to understand why things are the way they are.”
He offers a grim outlook for the Earth and its inhabitants with two songs on his latest CD, including “The End of the Race” and “When the Leaves Have Fallen.” Mason describes the latter song as “a love song for the end of the world.”
The other tracks on If the Ocean Gets Rough also present Mason’s introspective way of looking at parts of the world that he has seen in his travels. The topics include a bewildered son (“The World That I Wanted”), a determined mother (“Gotta Keep Walking” and “We Can Be Strong”) and uncommon family ties (“When the River Moves On”).
Once again, Mason is back out on the road, to share his keen observations and musical talents. And he’ll probably find some inspiration for new songs along the way.