Acoustic singer/songwriter would be one way to put it, but it would not be nearly enough. Based in Nashville, Chris Mason has been recording and touring for the past five years, honing his craft beyond the standard fare. The result, at least on his latest EP Songs One Through Six, is a mature pop/rock effort that will leave you wondering how this guy is independent in the first place.
Songs was produced and recorded alongside of Caedmon’s Call’s Andrew Osenga and Cason Cooley of The Normals (who has also been playing with Derek Webb recently). The musical abilities of all there come through loud and clear, but it’s the songwriting of Mason that brings this effort to the forefront. An EP like this could easily get lost in the shuffle of Nashville, but Songs is an effort that not only deserves to be heard, but will eventually force its way forward. The music is really that good.
Opening up the album is “Waiting,” a free, acoustic track in the vein of Americana artists such as Marty Lloyd. “Second Chance” is a more straightforward catchy acoustic tune in which Mason’s understated vocals are at their best. It’s light-hearted in its sound but not in its analogies of love the second time around. “Slow Me Down” brings more texture with Cooley on the keyboards and Mason even adding harmonica at times and the bassline evokes a likeness to David Gray. The song is honest and piercing as Mason brings his own failures and downfalls to the surface.
There could not be a better closer on Songs One Through Six than the modern hymn, “Precious Lord, Thy Mercy Come.” Reminiscent of the great theologically focused music of the last few centuries, Mason has crafted a simple, yet absolutely beautiful anthem. By the time the vocalist sings, “We sing Alleluia/ We sing Alleluia,” the listener is moved to new places. The best thing about the album is that you will realize that, ultimately, you have been moving all along.