Taking equal inspiration from Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, and Pink Floyd, Mason Brothers are a contemporary roots band whose music bridges the gap between 1970s British folk and 21st century Americana. The band began as a partnership between Christian and James Mason, two Virginia-born brothers who grew up in Richmond and attended college at nearby University of Virginia. While studying English at UVA, James began laying the brickwork for a solo career, eventually releasing an album of textured folk songs, Carnival Sky, in 2003. Meanwhile, Christian recorded his own music in private and occasionally wrote songs with his brother, even co-writing three tracks for Carnival Sky.
As the two continued working together, James' solo career gave way to a proper partnership between both siblings. Mason Brothers made their official debut with 2008's The Sun, the Moon & the Sea, a stark album that focused on the band's strengths: nimble guitar fingerpicking, subtle arrangements, and understated, softly sung melodies. A flurry of TV and movie placements helped promote the band's music outside of Virginia, as did shared dates with bands like Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia. By the time Ghost Season rolled around in 2011, Mason Brothers had expanded their sound considerably, adding louder dynamics and a touch of Pink Floyd's spacey rock & roll to the mix. Meanwhile, the band continued writing new songs, added pianist/songwriter Ben Willson to the lineup, and began preparing for a third release in 2012. ~ Andrew Leahey