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He’s only 20 years old, scarcely old enough to have earned a worldly view of life, but when you listen to the songs he has written, you will find it difficult to believe that. He’s a bachelor with quite a limited experience in the ways of love, but when you listen to his cleverly crafted tales about pure and honest devotion, unabashed pining, and the dreaded broken heart, you will envision a man with a life long-lived, treaded in worn out shoes. Mason Lively grew up around the small town of Victoria, Texas, in the even smaller town of Inez, population 2,000. Lacking big city stimulation, Mason spent his developmental years taking his lessons from songs that were born long before he was. Completely immersed in the patchwork of genres he found the blueprint for songwriting at a very young age and wrote his first one at age 15. At the age of 16 he was already in the studio cutting his first 5-song EP called "Living Large in a Little Town" co-produced by Lloyd Maines and Pat Manske. Being his first music project, Mason did little more than sell it in local parking lots and hand it out to family members, but the promise it foretold of a budding career grabbed the attention of several “players” in the scene who sat back with eagle-eyed anticipation to wait patiently for the young maverick to ripen. They didn’t have to wait long.
It is well known that in Texas live shows are king, and Mason got an early jump on the state’s most popular form of entertainment at 15. He performed and then watched his peers and then performed some more and then watched some more, and through this dance between being an artist and being a fan himself, he came to understand the true workings of pure chemistry between performer and audience. Trey Newman at the Lee Crosby Agency was one of the eagle-eye watchers who witnessed over time the cultivation of the kid’s stage presence, and in 2017 signed Mason as a booking client. Soon thereafter Trey introduced Mason to Stewart Mann, frontman and primary songwriter for the acclaimed country blues band The Statesboro Revue. Stewart immediately saw in Mason a kindred spirit and stepped in to co-manage the upstart’s career. All agreed the time was at hand to release some new music and with Mason’s kettle of reserved songs now at the boiling point, he went back to The Zone studios in Dripping Springs, Texas to record his first full length album “Stronger Ties.”
First impressions always speak the loudest and the very first thing that stands out about this album is its diversity. Where most artists strive for a cohesive sound and overall theme, Mason decided to let his genre flags fly and the result is a buffet-style feast for the ears, and there is something here for everyone. He wrote all 10 songs, and with the help of producer Pat Manske, each one came to live comfortably in its own world of sound. The first single “Lonely Comes Back Around” by far waves the Texas alt-country flag the highest, and will no doubt secure a permanent seat at radio’s table. “Heavy Toll” runs a close second, but takes it up several notches with a menacing guitar riff and rock-styled chord progression that is hammer on nail, touching on the taboos of road life that only a working musician can truly understand. And “Early Grave” and “Ballad Of The Broken Heart” are kissing cousins brining in the “tonk” to douse the flames that devil woman set to your heart. But stamped on the lighter side of that tainted coin is the impression of optimism, and “Worry About Nothing” is the album’s cleverly crafted talisman: country cool and soothing like the stroke of a familiar hand on a worried brow. And for those that like their music a little blues-infused, they will break into their happy dance with “Role Play,” the brightest star in this constellation. And there is so much more.
“Stronger Ties” is Mason’s way of paying tribute to the music scene that he loves and is proud to be a part of. “This is me not only as a music artist, but also as a listener.” The new album releases on April 6th, 2018, and with it the new generation of Texas music magic.
Mason Lively’s band is: Mason Lively (rhythm guitar, vocals and harmonica), Carson Popp (lead guitarist), Jack Barbee (bass) and Will Sepolio (drums).