Mason Brothers
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Mason Brothers

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"Record Review: Richmond Times Dispatch"

"…a revelatory listening experience, a new release that sounds absolutely timeless on first listen. The Mason Brothers have succeeded in wrestling new magic out of the universal, resulting in a new universe with a brighter sun, a higher moon and a deeper sea." - Ryan Muldoon

"Record Review: Brick Weekly"

“The Sun, The Moon & The Sea is a soundtrack for soft, sepia-toned memories…an indie-folk opus of gentle, finger-picked acoustic guitars and occasional touches of piano, percussion, and lap steel…like being wrapped in a cozy, warm blanket in a place you feel safe…this is not just another alt. folk record.” - Sarah Shay

"Record Review: Actionman Magazine"

“Mason takes a few simple guitar parts, electric piano, sedation drums and a voice that soars slow and soft and crafts an album with depth. James Mason has the goods to claim the dour-pop king crown from Elliott Smith.” - Michael Carey

"Record Review:"

The Mason Brothers are a Richmond, Virginia based duo, who, when not in their day jobs as university professors, release some damn good folk music perfect for fans of Nick Drake or Iron & Wine. While James Mason (the Writing professor) released acclaimed solo album Carnival Sky in 2003, The Sun, the Moon, & the Sea is the brothers’ first full-length album (although a second will be released later in 2008). Here James splits songwriting duties with brother Christian (the Applied Mathematics prof/ lap steel guitarist/mandolin picker extraordinaire)... the oft-whispered lyrics are stunning in their simple, yet powerful imagery of both nature and the existential crisis of the human condition.

From 'Ghost at the Wheel':
'Perched by the window / Staring down a drowning sun / A soldier grounds his bloody blade / And bids the dead a job well done.'

Not convinced yet? Here’s the next verse: 'Strangers roll by / Shake their heads and move right along / But you just sit there / Hood up hazards on.'

Folkies, don’t pass this one by; The Sun, the Moon, & the Sea is one of the best folk/acoustic records to come along in some time. So in honor of the Mason Brothers’ other career, I’m awarding this album a Rate My Professor style happy face. And looking at the photos in the liner notes, the boys also get a chili pepper (which, for those of you non-shallow types, is the website’s signifier of hotness)." - Juli Thanki

"Record Review: Spendid eZine"

"Mason Brothers offer only the trembling musical core of their work, placing it gently before the listener. It's an album that begs for headphones, a blue sky or a slow drive…it works perfectly.” - Tim Lockridge

"Record Review: Shmat Records"

"With stark, atmospheric song structures that neatly avoid ‘pit of despair’ categorizations paired with an awesome voice that remains weary but never defeated, Mason Brothers has carved out a rightful place among the best singer-songwriters.” - Brian Y.

"Record Review: The Hook"

"This 10-track acoustic mix of whispered words is one of the best albums I've heard in ages." - Mark Grabowski

"Record Review: Aiding and Abetting"

"Quite simply, this is one well-crafted disc. There's just enough looseness in the playing to keep the feel personal, and the attention to detail keeps the songs from spinning out of control. First rate." - Aiding and Abetting

"Record Review: Quick Before it Melts (mp3 blog)"

"...a little treasure that seems to have fallen from heaven right into my mailbox to make me believe that there is good music yet to be made. [The Sun, the Moon & the Sea] is the gorgeous debut album from Richmond, Virginia's Mason Brothers...conjures up all its namesakes by way of acoustic ballads laced with lap steel, percussion, and subtle piano flourishes, and the surprisingly velvet voices of brothers James and Christian Mason."
- Jim Di Gioia

"Record Review: Catfish Vegas (mp3 blog)"

"The Sun, the Moon & the Sea is cinematic folk music, rich and deliberately crafted, with guitars and voices woven tightly together. It's something a visionary movie director would do well to notice - think Noah Baumbach in a slightly better mood than he's brought to his last couple films.

This self-released debut record from Richmond, Va. duo James and Christian Mason opens with a beautiful melancholy, driven by carefully fingerpicked guitar notes and verses that draw on battles, ghosts and journeys, all rooted in a lonely sadness. Then comes the soaring chorus, with a breezy harmony to counter the downtrodden imagery:

'If you wait for the sunshine, you might wait for a while
If you hate this feeling, you can hold on to me until it dies
May you rise'

The songs are whispery at times, recalling Iron & Wine or perhaps Simon & Garfunkel. The brothers themselves cite Nick Drake among their influences and that's the most accurate parallel. Think also a folkier Elliott Smith, most like the songs on the posthumous New Moon album, or sometimes the less poppy songs of the Pernice Brothers.

The lyrics deal often with mystery and an elemental sort of imagery, run through by ghosts and angels, rain and fire, the night sky and the sunrise, and often things breaking or sinking or crumbling. And the music and vocals fit. Added together there's a power in this collection...

The Sun, the Moon & the Sea is a tremendous debut, stretching 10 songs to 38 minutes, recorded completely analog at Brink Studios in Centreville, Va. and produced by Mike Reina, who also contributes organ and vocals on a few tracks. The Mason Brothers could easily stick to pretty balladry, but there are enough elements in the record to suggest they have a greater versatility that could lead them a number of directions. Just think about the path of Elliott Smith, who found his salvation in the poppier styles that he drew from the Beatles. Or Nick Drake, whose songs had an airy, atmospheric quality, sounding more like night-time than the afternoon or dusk of the Mason Brothers. Or the SoCal songwriters who breezed into country styles." - Catfish Vegas


LP "The Sun, the Moon & the Sea"



The Sun, the Moon & the Sea is the first full-length album from Mason Brothers, and it showcases the brothers' acoustic leanings, with elaborate finger-picked guitars, splashes of lap steel, percussion, and piano. Also featured on this record are the brothers' stark, imagistic, yet hopeful lyrics. The debut has had critical acclaim, being described as "a revelatory listening experience, a new release that sounds absolutely timeless on first listen" (Richmond Times-Dispatch). The songs on The Sun, the Moon & the Sea have been described as "cinematic folk music...something a visionary movie director would do well to notice" (Catfish Vegas). Songs from this release will be featured on a new CBS drama this fall, and Mason Brothers plan to explore further opportunities in film and television.

Mason Brothers are currently playing shows in support of this release and will be working on a second full-length in 2008, this time turning up the volume with their six piece band.

The story of Mason Brothers begins with solo work of James Mason. In 2003, James released a solo album entitled Carnival Sky; several tracks on this record feature James’ brother, Christian Mason. The subtle beauty of Carnival Sky was affirmed in reviews from all over the United States, drawing favorable comparisons to the late Nick Drake, the late Elliott Smith, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. The record even made a splash overseas, with reviews and orders coming in from as far away as Greece, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

The brothers went on to play a string of shows in Virginia, DC, and North Carolina, opening up for acts such as Magnolia Electric Company (Songs: Ohia) and Mates of State. Even without extensive touring the record made an impact, charting on CMJ reporting radio stations. Everyone involved was pleasantly surprised with the level and nature of the attention...attention created with minimal, grassroots publicity.

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