WORLD-RENOWNED SESSION PLAYER
DO YOU READ THE MUSICIAN CREDITS ON CDS? If you do you will see one name which appears again and again - Brent Mason. Brent is one of the most recorded guitarists in history - a Grammy Award winning artist and also multiple winner of the Academy of Country Music and the CMA (sixteen awards), being nominated every year since 1991. In addition to playing on the majority of hit country music for over two decades, his diverse work ranging from jazz and blues to R&B, classical and funk can be heard almost daily on movie soundtracks, television scores, and commercials. His technique and theory is studied in colleges and universities around the world, including the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
BRENT MASON IS PRIMARILY KNOWN as being a first-call Nashville session musician and has appeared on thousands of recordings worldwide. His extensive credits can be viewed on allmusic.com. He is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished session musicians in the industry today. Although his name is not always recognized by music fans, it is well-known and respected throughout the music industry and his masterful and versatile playing of electric, acoustic and classical guitar sets the bar of excellence for professional guitarists.
BRENT IS ONE OF THE MOST RECORDED guitarists in history, playing on albums by Alan Jackson, Alabama, The Chipmunks, Josh Turner, David Gates, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Neil Diamond, Rascall Flatts, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Lorrie Morgan, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, Shelby Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Keith Whitley, Natalie Cole, Trace Atkins, Terri Clark, Shainia Twain, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, The Judds, LeeAnn Womack, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood and many, many others. His discography reads like a Who's Who in the music business. Although Harold Bradley is commonly given the title of the most recorded guitarist in history, Brent Mason has more than doubled Mr. Bradley's 50 years of recording credits in a mere 22 years since his first professional recording session on Chet Atkin's album, "Stay Tuned" in 1985.
HE WAS BORN ON JULY 13, 1959, in Van Wert, Ohio, into a musical family which includes his talented brother, drummer Randy Mason. He taught himself to play guitar by ear at five years old by sitting on the floor and using a butter knife to play his father's acoustic guitar like a slide guitar, as the guitar was too large for him to hold and play correctly. He has never had a music lesson and is unable to read music to this day (he plays by ear). After high school he got a job at a local tool box factory. While working there one of his co-workers lost his hand operating a machine and he saw several other co-workers injure their hands in various ways. Then one day while working Brent was using a riveting machine that riveted a hole completely through his thumb in the middle of his thumbnail. He realized that if he was ever going to do anything with his musical gift he had better quit the factory and pursue music before he too lost a hand or finger. Mason came to Nashville at the age of 22 with a hole punched completely through his thumb (it did heal eventually!) and was soon the talk of the town.
WHILE PLAYING A NIGHTLY GIG at The Stagecoach Lounge he came to the attention of the legendary Chet Atkins, who took him under his wing and gave him the opportunity to play on one of his albums and also helped him get his first work as a session musician doing demos in the studio. This led to his playing being heard by several well known producers of the time, and soon he was in the studio with legendary A-Team musicians like Reggie Young, Harold Bradley, Weldon Myrick, Larrie Londin, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Buddy Emmons and Charlie McCoy, working on albums for established Nashville superstars, and this paved the way to an astonishing recording career which continues today.
IN A SENTIMENTAL TWIST OF FATE, Brent's FIRST studio recording was with Chet Atkins on Chet's album,"Stay Tuned." Twelve years later Chet did Brent the honor of joining him on Brent's album "Hot Wired" playing the beautiful solo and fills on the song "My Little Ballerina." Chet confided to Brent shortly before his death in 2001 that "My Little Ballerina" was his LAST recorded work.
ALTHOUGH HIS NAME IS SYNONOMOUS WITH COUNTRY MUSIC, Mason is a uinique chameleon, playing all styles with exceptional ability and depth, and is actually more at home playing jazz, classical, latin, swing, blues, rock and funk styles. He cites as some of his main influences Jerry Reed, Lenny Breau, Pat Martino, Roy Nichols, George Benson, Jeff Beck and Larry Carlton. He was also inspired in his teens by a more obscure guitarist named Carlos Rios he heard on a Gino Vanelli album released in the mid 70's, entitled "Brother to Brother." Taking a bit here and there from each of his influences and combining them with his own unique style, Mason is responsible for creating a new and innovative sound all his own and it is widely said that it is mainly due to his influence that country music became re-energized and soared back into popularity in the 1990's.
A LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT MASON is that he is also an accomplished singer and songwriter. He was signed to a recording deal with Mercury Records in the mid 1990's, but at the last minute he decided to pull out of the contract, unable to face the touring and promotion that would keep him away from Nashville and his family He opted to bypass a chance at possible fame and mainstream celebrity to continue his lucrative studio career as a session musician, playing music for other artist's albums instead of his own. In addition, he has composed a catalog registered with BMI of over one hundred original instrumentals which can be heard with regularity on television programs, movie soundtracks, ringtones, and commercials.
BRENT HAS PLAYED ON COMMERCIALS for Budweiser, Miller Brewing Company, Betty Crocker, Country Time Lemonade, Geico, McDonalds, Dodge Trucks, Revlon, Sears, Michelob, Whirlpool, Ford Motor Company, and Wrangler Jeans, to name just a few. He can be heard on countless movie and television soundtracks, like the popular television sitcoms "Friends," and the popular opening to NFL Football telecasts ("Are You Ready for Some Football!").
HE RELEASED HIS INSTRUMENTAL DEBUT ALBUM "Hot Wired" on Mercury Records in 1997. When Mason pulled out of his recording deal with Mercury they made a decision to stop printing "Hot Wired" after the second printing, and when the album sold out Mercury shelved the masters. "Hot Wired" has become one of the most sought after out-of-print discs on the market, easily bringing $100.00 for a used copy on Ebay and Amazon. He released a best-selling instructional video through Hot Licks Productions in 1996 "BRENT MASON - NASHVILLE CHOPS AND WESTERN SWING GUITAR" which is now available on dvd through MusicSales.com and in 2006 an instructional computer software through PG Music called "BRENT MASON - GUITAR STAR."
BRENT WON A GRAMMY AWARD IN 2009 IN ADDITION TO AWARDS BY Billboard, Music Row All-Stars, a NAMMY Award and various songwriting honors, he has received fourteen Academy of Country Music Guitarist of the Year awards and two CMA Musician of the Year awards, being nominated every year for both of these since 1991. Articles and interviews about Brent have appeared with regularity in every major guitar magazine in the world for more than two decades and he was named in Guitar Player Magazine as one of the world's top ten "Masters of the Telecaster/Titans of the Tele."
IN 2003 GIBSON/VALLEY ARTS GUITARS developed and released a Brent Mason Signature Model guitar designed to be a replica of his well-known and well used 1968 Fender Telecaster, heavily modified by Nashville guitar luthier extraordinaire, Joe Glaser.
AS A SIDELINE, IN 1999 BRENT joined with four other well known "A-list" session musicians based in Nashville - John Hobbs, Michael Rhodes, Paul Franklin and Eddie Bayers to form the group "The Players." You can even listen to this amazing 'super-group' play live several times a year. They play most often at "3rd and Lindsley". See www.3rdandLindsley.com for details.
IN 2006 A MUSICIAN'S HALL OF FAME museum dedicated to honoring and recognizing the most prolific and historically significant musicians of all genres in the world was erected in Nashville, which has a special section about Brent.