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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