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Willy Mason is an American singer-songwriter.

He was born in New York, the son of Jemima James and Michael Mason, both folk singers. When Mason was five, he and his family moved from New York to West Tisbury, Massachusetts on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. He attended West Tisbury Elementary School and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, where he participated in several local bands such as Keep Thinking, Cultivation, and Slow Leslie. He also was in the MVRHS Minnesingers. He is a direct descendant of the 19th century philosopher William James, the brother of novelist Henry James.

Mason’s popularity rose after Sean Foley, associate of musician Conor Oberst, discovered his music on a local Martha’s Vineyard Radio broadcast. Oberst would soon sign Mason to his new record label, Team Love and release his debut album. Since then, he has toured with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Kweller, Unbusted, and Radiohead and played such venues as the Glastonbury Festival, South by Southwest and most recently Marlay Park as a support act for Damien Rice. On July 3, 2010 he played at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, opening for Norah Jones.

His first commercial release was a five-track EP, known as the G-Ma’s Basement EP. This included solo acoustic recordings of “Live It Up”, “Hard Hand to Hold”, “Waiter at the Station”, “Not Lie Down” and “Oxygen”. The CD was sold during 2004 live appearances and on the internet.

In the summer months of 2004 Mason and his brother Sam traveled to Old Soul Studios in the Catskill Mountains, New York to record the debut album, Where the Humans Eat. Recording sessions were mostly live, in no more than three takes, featuring Willy Mason’s guitar and vocals, and Sam Mason on the drums. Minimal overdubs of guitar, bass and other instruments were added later. The album was released on Conor Oberst’s Team Love label in the U.S.A in October 2004, and by Virgin Records in the UK in February 2005. Where the Humans Eat and its singles (“Oxygen” and “So Long”), charted in the UK Singles Chart and Albums Chart in 2005.

In 2004, he toured the United States. After many live appearances throughout 2004 and 2005, culminating with a performance at the Glastonbury Festival, Mason took time off and returned to his family’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. He began writing new songs and put a band together, featuring Nina Violet on viola and backing vocals, and Zak Borden on mandolin. In early 2006, they began touring the US and Europe, along with other musicians. He supported Beth Orton, KT Tunstall, Radiohead, and Sondre Lerche.

Mason released his second album, If the Ocean Gets Rough, in March 2007. He provided vocals for the track “Battle Scars” on The Chemical Brothers’ album We Are the Night. The song “Pickup Truck,” recorded live at Aboveground Records in Edgartown, Massachusetts, is included on Radio Waves, Vol. 1, a compilation album of music from Martha’s Vineyard, and released on June 29, 2007 to help purchase transmitting equipment for a new community radio station.

Mason toured small venues in England, Scotland Wales and Ireland in 2011, and during the tour he recorded a live session at 80 Hertz Studios in The Sharp Project, Manchester. Mason featured in “No Room For Doubt”, from Lianne La Havas’ EP Lost & Found which was released on 21 October on the Labour of Love label.

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you’re drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they’ve got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you’re singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there’s things that we don’t really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i’m dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan’t to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you’re really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it’s the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it’s hard to believe
But it’s easy to see that something here isn’t right
I know the future looks dark
But it’s there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i’m dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

If i’m afraid to catch a dream
I weave your baskets and I’ll float them down the river stream
Each one i weave with words i speak to carry love to your relief.

I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you’re drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they’ve got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you’re singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there’s things that we don’t really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i’m dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew

www.willymason.co.uk

www.twitter.com/wjjmason

www.willymason.bandcamp.com/

http://smarturl.it/WillyMasonStore

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