The Violet Masons
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The Violet Masons

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"The Violet Masons change scenery to boost music career"

The Violet Masons folk-rock duo was ready for a change.

To succeed in a music career, they needed to move from their hometown of St. Simons, an island community in southeast Georgia.

Charlotte Young and Matt Williams said they looked at big cities like Nashville, Atlanta and Austin where live venues and potential audiences stretched as far as the eye could see.

But would the jump be too big? How would the soft-spoken duo, who are engaged, make enough noise to get noticed?

The Violet Masons decided to move slowly, picking College Station as their temporary home.

"It's preparing us for the next step," Williams said.

Austin is the next goal, he said, because The Violet Masons feel the city can turn a part-time occupation into a full-time job. And College Station is part of the formula.

In the eight weeks Williams and Young have lived here, they now play a regular Thursday night gig at Poets Billiards and also have performed at Fitzwilly's, Revolution and O'Bannons.

After Young's older sister and husband landed teaching jobs at Texas A&M University, The Violet Masons followed, knowing they'd have some locals who could help them get started.

So far, Young said their music has been well received, and they may be ready for Houston and Austin gigs.

The Violet Masons credit a mix of word-of-mouth publicity and self-promotion for a steady rise in popularity.

Williams said the change of scenery also meant a change in the duo's approach to the business side. Because the two were so familiar with southeast Georgia, they easily found places to play.

But moving to a new city where no one had ever heard of The Violet Masons meant the two needed a more aggressive marketing approach, which meant self-promoting.

"I've never had to do that before," Williams said. "I feel awkward doing it. What we need is a manager who takes care of all that for us. Someone who's all about us and doesn't mind talking about us."

Young explained her unease about the self-promotion this way: "I don't feel what we're doing is any more special that someone else's music when they're remaining true to themselves."

Another adjustment is a culture that's a bit faster-paced than St. Simons. In Georgia, Young and Williams said they were used to "island time," when things got done when they got done.

The routine was comfortable, but The Violet Masons had tired of their surroundings. Williams said they had played every bar and restaurant in the area at least once. Young, who also is a painter and photographer, said she didn't want to become another "Jimmy Buffet-type" where all her subjects consisted of coconuts and beaches.

"I could die without ever hearing Margaritaville again," she said, only half-joking.

Otherwise, The Violet Masons have grown as performers without any major hiccups.

What makes things work, Williams said, is a separation of their personal and professional relationships.

They met about five years ago when Young was a student at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. About a year later, they started dating.

Young said they quickly realized their good chemistry personally and musically, so they were engaged only four months into the relationship.

And because they have known each other for so long, Williams said the collaborative songwriting has been easy.

Young also said she has nurtured her own style because Williams has been flexible and able to help mold The Violet Masons' sound.

"I think I've found my voice since we've been together," Young said. "It's a thing where you don't sound like your influences. People say to me, 'You remind me of someone but you don't sound like them.'"

Now The Violet Masons are paying attention to the future, although Williams said there's no solid timetable for moving the musical dream on to Austin.

They seem to have brought some of St. Simons' "island time" with them to Texas.

~Greg Okuhara
The Eagle staff writer - The Eagle - College Station, TX

"The Violet Masons impress at FitzWillys"

Innovation and experimentation are probably not what you would expect from an acoustic guitar duo. The Violet Masons, who played at Fitzwilly’s Bar and Grille on Northgate last Thursday, are a band that shatters this perception. Their music may be subtle, but it is far from ordinary. The band consists of Charlotte Young, who provides the vocals and singer songwriter aesthetic and Matt Williams, who uses a vast array of pedals to loop his own riffs and percussion beats over one another and add fades and other atmospheric effects to create a veritable symphony with only one instrument.

Violet Masons list influences including Melanie, the Cure, Neutral Milk Hotel, Trey Anastasio, and Herbie Hancock. This list is a good starting point, but in order to understand the sound this band produces, one must look much farther. The band obviously has deep roots in folk and even country, but the innovation that they add to these traditional styles is what sets them apart.

The innovative side of the band comes from Williams’ genius playing and use of such a wide variety of loops and effects. While Young plays folk progressions and sings about her country roots and life experiences, Williams adds atmospheric fades, solos, percussion (all played by beating the body of his acoustic guitar) and at times loops so many of his own sounds over one another one wonders how he manages to keep it all straight. The resulting effect is a marvelous combination of atmosphere and substance that is remarkable in its originality.

Young’s vocals are an intricate part of the band though and are not to be lost among all of this ambitious instrumental performance. Her lyrics tell honest, personal stories without sounding trite or pretentious. The themes of these stories generally focus on gathering insight from personal experience. The stories themselves have a distinct southern feel to them and are expertly crafted. Young’s voice, though, is what makes the lyrics so believable. Her vocal range is impressive and her voice itself carries a rich tone and always perfectly in tune. This singing is reminiscent of classic southern singer songwriters like Janis Joplin.

Both in live performance and in recorded material, all of these aspects come together seamlessly to create an extremely rewarding listening experience. Unfortunately for College Station music fans, The Violet Masons will soon be relocating to Georgia for a few months, but promise to stop by on tours while they are gone and will be returning to College Station after this hiatus. This writer will certainly be waiting to see them again when they return.

~Greg Barth

Staff Writer, The Maroon Weekly - The Maroon Weekly


Tracklist from our self-released, self-produced, self-titled demo CD:

1.What Color Dress
2. Segue One
3. Pale Girl 4. Segue Two
5. Laura
6. Segue Three
7. Time Turned Away
8. Segue Four
9. House
10. Segue Five
11. Last Day in July
12. Segue Six
13. Shame My Dear


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Violet Masons, a south Gerogia based duo, mix aspects of traditional songwriting with often surrealist lyrics and technical musicianship in a fashion that allows songs to flirt with various styles from reggae to country. Multi-instrumentalist/producer Matt Williams, 28, and singer/songwriter Mary-Charlotte Young, 23, are The Violet Masons.
Recently relocated to College Station, TX, Young and Williams are currently working on a self-produced studio project due out in the spring. The songs are written mostly by Young and arranged and produced by Williams. Given the strong imagery in Young's lyrics, it should be no surprise that she is a visual artist as well as a musician. She graduated from Wesleyan College (Macon, GA) in 2004 where she double majored in Studio Art and Film/Media Communication; the two subjects that have opened her eyes to perception, meaning, and true artistic expression. Her major musical influences include Melanie, The Cure, and Neutral Milk Hotel. Williams, a lifetime student of music, focuses on advancing in the arts of improvisational lead guitar and unique production style. Some of his musical influences are Trey Anastasio, Herbie Hancock and even Pat Methany. The Violet Masons' live performances are often mellow but a force to be reckoned with. Williams utilizes looping technology to build tasteful collages of sound that are partnered with Young's strong, sincere vocals and dreamy lyrics. This original sound is what has given them the opportunity to play with acts such as BlueString, The Lovell Sisters, and Cast Iron Filter. They can also draw a crowd on their own headlining at several venues in the Georgia/ north Florida region. They have performed at 550 Blues in Macon, GA, The Lucas Theater in Savannah, GA, The Green Turtle Tavern in Fernandina Beach, FL and as the house band at Rafters Blues and Raw Bar on St. Simons Island, GA. also recognizes the genuine artistry in The Violet Masons' music by crediting them with several awards that include Track of the Week, Best Female Vocals, Best Mood, Best Programming/ Production, and Best Chillout Track for their song "Laura," which was recently ranked as high as #4 in their Folk Rock catagory, and is currently at #6. Their song "Next Life
Number Nine" is ranked #7 on the same chart, and has also received several awards, including Track of the Day.