The Mason Brothers are a Richmond, Virginia based duo, who, when not in their day jobs as university professors, release some damn good folk music perfect for fans of Nick Drake or Iron & Wine. While James Mason (the Writing professor) released acclaimed solo album Carnival Sky in 2003, The Sun, the Moon, & the Sea is the brothers’ first full-length album (although a second will be released later in 2008). Here James splits songwriting duties with brother Christian (the Applied Mathematics prof/ lap steel guitarist/mandolin picker extraordinaire). While musically the songs are rather nondescript, the oft-whispered lyrics are stunning in their simple, yet powerful imagery of both nature and the existential crisis of the human condition. From “Ghost at the Wheel”: “Perched by the window / Staring down a drowning sun / A soldier grounds his bloody blade / And bids the dead a job well done.” Not convinced yet? Here’s the next verse: “Strangers roll by / Shake their heads and move right along / But you just sit there / Hood up hazards on.” Folkies, don’t pass this one by; The Sun, the Moon, & the Sea is one of the best folk/acoustic records to come along in some time. So in honor of the Mason Brothers’ other career, I’m awarding this album a Rate My Professor style happy face. And looking at the photos in the liner notes, the boys also get a chili pepper (which, for those of you non-shallow types, is the website’s signifier of hotness).
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// Sound Affects
"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.READ the article