Benjamin Short 21/02/2005
Before an audience of just 50 people, Willy Mason is a rabbit trapped in the headlights, so it's difficult to imagine how he will react when he takes the summer festivals by storm. During the first two songs, he refuses to open his eyes as he strangles unashamedly retro alt-country from his battered acoustic.
This is the final time we are likely to encounter Willy in such a bizarre and intimate venue. Yet his fragile, delicate songs seem well suited to the surroundings. He plays a brisk six song set, including four songs from his debut album, 'Where the Humans Eat' (Released 21st February 2005), and 'Live It Up', from the 'Hard Hand to Hold' EP.
The most astounding aspect of Willy Mason's music is the overwhelming strength and purity of his voice. Combined with his ramshackle guitar playing, the overall effect is nothing less than astounding.
Mason is the embodiment of humble charm, seemingly shocked by his rising popularity, and the (mainly female) attention that comes with it. He takes audience requests, chats about his mother's pet cats, and signs numerous autographs when the performance is over.
Increasingly, the music press is being engulfed by Hurricane Willy, and without wishing to contribute to the winds of hype, the boy certainly deserves to go far. But if all else fails, a glittering career awaits him as a redneck Jeff Buckley impersonator!