Willy Mason - Where the Humans Eat

Last Sunday, I saw Willy Mason open for Bright Eyes in Salt Lake City. I was instantly impressed by his deft voice and guitar work, and his clever songwriting. When I arrived home, I found Mason's album on Conor Oberst's Team Love Records and immediately ordered it on vinyl. Mason has received some Dylan comparisons (like at this blog), and I'm convinced, after hearing Where the Humans Eat, that those are earned comparisons.

Like Conor Oberst, Willy Mason is fairly young (though I'm the same age, but I'm not writing songs like these) at just 19. Why does the age of these artists matter? Because I wouldn't even expect these songs from someone who had twenty years of songwriting experience under their belt. Oberst and Mason are similar in their talent and age, but their styles are vastly different. Both have garnered Dylan comparisons, and though Oberst's songwriting is incredible, Mason's songwriting is much more Dylan-esque.

Mason's songs evoke an authenticity that is rarely present in today's music. Where the Humans Eat contains songs that are about reality in this modern world. They arise from a place deep within a person who has a peculiar ability to get under the facade of his environment. He doesn't just sing about a subject, he penetrates it; he gets under the skin. Here is a chorus from one of my favorites, Hard Hand to Hold.
It's a hard hand to hold/ That is looking for control/ It is tempting to fight/ When you know that you're right,/ It's hard to lie down
When you don't trust the ground/ It's hard to hold on,/ It's hard to hold on.

This strong poetry is delivered by a voice that sounds years older than it is and is accented by skillful, folksy guitar and Willy's brother Sam Mason on drums. Sam is just a sophomore in high school, but his drumming is already confident and solid.

Where the Humans Eat has me excited about seeing more from Mason in the future. This is a must-have album, especially for fans of Dylan or any other talented troubadour. You don't want to miss Mason's rise to songwriting legend.

(check out a video of Mason's song Oxygen right here)

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