Friday

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Mason Douglas

Tucson, Ariz., was home base for Mason Douglas, but an even broader American panorama opens up in his music. Not so much a regionalist, he paints universal pictures through accessible melodies and lyrics on the four self-penned, five co-written and the two remaining tunes that comprise My Wild Heart, his debut album on Rural Rhythm Records.

Maybe that’s because of the opportunities and trials he faced early in his life. Douglas’ first 11 years were an idyllic balance of social whirl, horseback rides and learning the basics of hard work and persistence. This phase came to an abrupt end when his father, a U.S. Air Force colonel and Vietnam vet, was stricken with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Douglas and his mother provided care during the six years of his decline.

This experience proved transformative in many ways. Douglas has become a strong supporter for the ALS Association and now targets performances for members of the armed services as one of his major ambitions. It affected him artistically too, by sparking the belief that one should enjoy the good times to the fullest as long as fortune will allow.

That message permeates My Wild Heart, produced by Greg Strizek. Over a rollicking groove, toughened by buzzing, edgy horn riffs, he issues a sly, playful warning to objects of his romantic attention on “Big Bad Wolf,” which he wrote with Cory Batten. The heat rises further and the climate turns tropical on “Trabajo MaƱana (Fiesta Today!),” a hymn to ocean breezes and “extended vacation,” also written by Batten and Douglas.

But while still savoring the good times, he shows that he can look behind them for deeper messages on his first single, “Anything Can Happen.” Written solely by Douglas, it reminds us that there is more than “living it up down in Malibu” to bring meaning to life. That’s a lesson Douglas learned from his father in more than one way; his ability to communicate it on this well-crafted ballad belongs to him alone.

IN HIS OWN WORDS Q&A

MUSICAL HERO
“Garth Brooks, no question.”

DREAM DUET PARTNER
“Patty Griffin. There would be no greater honor.”

CD IN YOUR STEREO
“Pearl Jam's Binaural plus some songs by my buddy Ray Sisk.”

BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. I just finished up Island by Aldous Huxley and How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill.”

FAVORITE MODE OFTRANSPORTATION
“Anything with four wheels — I don’t have enough hair on my chest to get on a motorcycle.”

SONG YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
“Usually the song that I’m writing that’s stuck in my head and is missing something.”

PET PEEVE
“Peeved pets.”

OCCUPATION IF NOT AN ARTIST
“I love to cook – if I’m not singing or writing, I’m probably trying to think of something crazy for dinner. I think that if the road hadn’t taken me towards music, it would’ve eventually led me to expressing some creativity in food.”

FIRST GIG
“My first gig was in high school at a place called McGraw’s Cantina in Tucson, Ariz. My best friend, Brian, and I had formed an acoustic duo called Two Of Hearts and we set up on the patio of McGraw’s. We played 90 minutes of covers through a teeny, tiny guitar amp and a $30 mixer from Radio Shack that my mom bought us. It was so much fun looking back – terrifying at the time, but such a great experience to start out.”

On the Web: www.MasonDouglasMusic.com


By Bob Doerschuk
© 2010 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
Photo Credit: Anthiny Ladd

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