Reviews

Mason Lively Releases Self-titled Second Release

masonlively
By Brian Rock

Texas native, Mason Lively reintroduces himself to the Americana scene with his self-titled second release, Mason Lively. Like Pat Green and Casey Donahew, Lively is part of the next generation of Texas troubadours. Combining country blues, outlaw country and a healthy dose of ballads, he sings songs of hope and heartbreak, but mostly heartbreak.

“Love Ain’t Done A Damn Thing,” sets the tone for the album as he sings, “She wasn’t the first one. She probably won’t be the last one to leave me in this broken state I’m in.” Accompanied by acoustic guitar and dobro, Lively moans, “They say you’re supposed to learn a thing or two about yourself when you love somebody else. But love ain’t done a damn thing but hurt me.” A lilting harmonica belies the mood of the lyrics. Not quite despondent, not quite optimistic, the singer finds himself in a place of melancholy resignation. Like David Nail’s, “Strangers on a Train,” it brilliantly captures that feeling where you accept your current reality, but you still wish it was different.

Lively seasons his heartache with some bluesy electric guitar on, “Lonely You Leave Me.” Weepy steel guitar helps tell the story of the breaking up of a “Happy Home.” “Angry At This Town,” combines the two instruments in Reckless Kelly fashion to show how the same town can look completely different in the absence of love. He creates a swampy, “Boondocks” feel to convey the urgency of running from his own past on, “Devil On My Trail.”

Somehow, with acoustic guitar in hand, he manages to hold out hope that some woman can see past his “Demons” to see the good in him. When he does find that woman, he tells her that he’d be “Senseless” not loving her. “The Future,” completes his trio of love ballads as he sings, “when you sang every word to my favorite song, I saw the future.” Proving the old adage, “Only love can break a heart, only love can mend it again,” Lively is able to overcome heartache and find love. His ballads enable us to experience the tears and triumphs of the journey with him.

But Lively proves he can do more than ballads on the anthemic, “Something “Bout A Southern Girl.” The Zac Brown influenced track builds to a crescendo chorus as he sings the praises of those sultry Southern Belles. He even manages to live up to his last name on the fiddle-fueled Outlaw Country of, “Left Behind.” The only real rocker on this album, it is filled with pith and vinegar as he vents his frustration and anger at his ex-lover.

What Mason Lively lacks in creative album names, he more than makes up for in brilliant balladry that tracks the course of human relationships from hope to heartache – and back again.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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