Catchy melodies that are memorable and impressionistic
Playing Time – 21:51 -- Classical guitarist and composer Mason Williams has an impressive musical resume that includes 24 albums and 250 original songs. His best-known hit is “Classical Gas,” a triple winner at the 1968 Grammy Awards. He’s also an accomplished poet, author and artist. On this album, he’s hoping for another big hit, and he chose the “EP” format so as to not mix “apples and oranges.” His six musical compositions are crafted works as opposed to spontaneous expression forms. As Williams says, “I continue to work on and improve them. They evolve over the years and become what they are.” Some of the six on this album have been in the works for quite some time, not recorded and release until they’re just right. So if you are an epicure, one with refined tastes, listen attentively to these songs. You’ll understand that there are tints of the sixties popular music in them, but you’ll also grasp their potential in today’s music market. Each of the six pieces has a catchy melody that is memorable and impressionistic. None meanders too far from center, and the soothing result is a pleasurable aural experience.
Highly arranged with a mix of instruments, synthesized sounds, and orchestral accompaniment, Mason Williams’ supporting cast includes about thirty artists. This is no small chore, and featured guests of special note include Art Maddox (arranger), Jerry Mills (mandolin), Larry Steelman (synthesizer), Greg Leisz (steel guitar), Eric Hamilton (classical guitar), Mark Schneider (upright electric bass), Frank Marocco (accordion), Rick Cunha (guitar), Hal Blaine (drums, percussion), Byron Berline (fiddle), and Art Ellis (flute).
Although released on his own Skookum label, Williams would like these songs to receive wide distribution. His vision is inspirational while evoking a certain sense of tranquility. Some of these licks we’ve heard decades before, but others have great potential to strike gold as hits of this century and soothe the soul as we harken back to a less hectic day of yesteryear. At first, Frank Marocco’s accordion in “Large DeLuxe” and “Santa Fe Souvenir” reminded me of a film soundtrack from the 60s or 70s, but the instrument’s appealing voice actually grows on you. Mason even whistles the melody in “Trade Winds,” a bouncy tune that is full of zest and excitement, in a leisurely sort of way. Very relaxing indeed as I daydream of white sandy beaches, palm trees, luaus and pina coladas. Mason Williams’ music has a certain magnetism, and EP2003 presents the essence of a masterful composer and guitarist. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, Or.)