Willy Mason + Pavey Ark + The Silver Reserve
+ Pavey Ark
+ The Silver Reserve
Wednesday 2nd August 2023
The New Adelphi Club
Willy Mason is touring Europe at breakneck speed with a three piece band tighter than the margins on this winters’ grocery lists. You’ve heard him before but not like this, sharper and smoother at the same time. Touring his energetic and wryly hopeful 2021 manifesto Already Dead, with sets seasoned by reinterpreted classics from across the expanse of his career.
The band includes: Farley Glavin on bass (Lemonheads, Killer Motorcycle) and Charlotte Anne Dole on drums (Empty Country, Hammy Down, Cult Objects).
With a sound that recalls Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash along with the cynicism of grunge and punk, nobody could believe wry singer/songwriter Willy Mason was only 19 when he appeared on the indie scene. Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Mason grew up with his parents’ love of folk music. He loved it, too, but his teen years brought Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine into his life. Mason found their political and social messages much easier to identify with and soon combined folk’s softer and looser delivery with the revolutionary attitude of his new heroes.
Mason’s debut, Where the Humans Eat, was released by Team Love in 2004. Critics were positive about the album and unanimously shocked that the literate writer and performer of these songs was only 19. Tours with Rosanne Cash, My Morning Jacket, Evan Dando, Beth Orton, and labelmates Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins increased the fan base and influenced the Astralwerks label to pick up the debut.
Magic, miracles, ghosts, world leaders; these days it seems there is little left to believe in. Lies outweigh truth and even truth can be dangerous. Raising everyone’s spirits Already Dead – the fourth album from Willy Mason – explores honesty and deception, anonymity in the digital age, good intentions with unexpected consequences, freedom, colonialism, love, god, and purpose because, its storyteller says, now is the time to restore some much-needed faith.
“Already Dead is a spiritual state to aspire to; it is freedom from the trappings and inhibitions of one’s ego, culture, and mythology. It is freedom and love and freedom to love in the face of death,” tells Willy of the philosophy behind the writing. “It’s about the necessary destruction of one’s mythology; mythology of species, sex, race, nation, self. It’s about the pain and tragedy that comes with such destruction, but also about the freedom, possibility and opportunity for reconciliation; reconciliation with the natural world and with each other.”
An inviting unravelling of decorum, Already Dead is Willy’s first album to be written and recorded in his home and arrives at a time when certain words must be said. It is a quest for love in a society which fears and discourages it; for truth and justice in a society which prioritizes convenience and profit. Last year’s standalone single ‘Take It Off’ hinted at what was to come after finding common ground with Noel Heroux (of Hooray For Earth and Mass Gothic) when Willy promoted Noel’s show at a local auto garage. After watching the set and eventually sitting in on drums himself, Willy felt moved to play Noel the demos he had been working on; demos sitting intimidatingly raw and uncouth, coughed up in a feverish month after a difficult year of death and disaster spurred him to write.