Album Review: Willy Mason - Carry On

13 December 2012 | 11:15 am | Dylan Roberton

Welcome back Willy, carry on indeed.

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For a relatively young chap, singer-songwriter Willy Mason has already experienced an extremely interesting career arc. The 28-year-old Martha's Vineyard-based musician is up to his third album with Carry On, but it's his first in five years after taking a break from his craft to immerse himself in 'real life' (as distinct to a touring musician's bubble) and get some much-needed perspective. Which isn't to say that he wasn't kicking goals prior to his hiatus; his debut album, 2004's Where The Humans Eat, was particularly well-received, he'd already shrugged off the dreaded 'new Dylan' tag and readers may remember him acquitting himself well on the main stage of Splendour In The Grass back in 2005.

So is the return worth it? Very much so. As with his early recordings, on first listen it's the deep, rich timbre of his expressive voice which is the most noticeable aspect of this solid batch of songs, but before long the deft nature of his songwriting rises to the fore as well. Musically, the touch is very light, mainly just rootsy guitars – abetted by some softly ambient production courtesy of Dan Carey (MIA, Hot Chip, Kylie) – meaning that many of the tracks rely on strong lyrics and vocal hooks to grab attention, but luckily those are delivered in spades on songs such as opener What It Is, the mournful Show Me The Way To Go Home and the laidback Into Tomorrow. It seems a deeply personal tract of lyrics, but in the manner of an introspective quest rather than a display of self-obsession.

A solid return, and hopefully the beginning of a career reborn. Welcome back Willy, carry on indeed.