Mason Porter was founded in 2006 and currently consists of Joe D’Amico (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Tim Celfo (upright bass, vocals), Paul Wilkinson (guitar, vocals), Kevin Killen (drums), and Sarah Larsen (violin). Hailing from West Chester, Pennsylvania, the alternative bluegrass outfit has shared the stage with Greensky Bluegrass, Larry Keel, Ralph Stanley, American Babies and many more. The band’s latest studio project, Key To The Skyway, holds true to it's name, offering hypnotic melodies to lift your spirits.
“A2B Machine” kicks the album off hot with a groovy, jammin’, toe-tappin’ bluegrass tune, featuring sharp fiddle and crisp vocal harmonies and wasting no time proving the type of energy that is boasted from those who have seen this band live. Highlights for this opening track include a masterful mandolin solo and the thumping, walking bass line in the bridge. The album slows down a bit with “A Woman Like You,” beginning with an uplifting intro. The relaxed nature of this tune allows for the melodic chords and relatable lyrics to stand out. This time, we’re blessed with a beautiful acoustic guitar and fiddle solo section.
“Seeds of Summer” keeps us in the mood for the summer season with a bouncy, upbeat verse and poetic lyrics. The song’s explosive chorus features harmonic vocals and pulls the listener back into that bouncy groove. “Four Leaf Clover” starts off with a dark intro, featuring acoustic guitar and fiddle. Minimalistic drums drive the tune forward into a pristine chorus. Despite the gloomy intro, the chord progression builds into more of a feel-good type of vibe. Finally, “Midnight Mountain Music Show” ends the album with a jubilant, jammin’ groove. A hot electric guitar solo brings the album to a close in style.
Although a relatively short album, Key To The Skyway holds its own and stays true to its point, combining elements of bluegrass, traditional country and folk. Keep your eyes and ears open for performances around the Northeast region the rest of the summer, including the recently announced lineup for Meeting of the Minds 8 in Schulkyhill, Pennsylvania in September.
Mason Porter released Key to the Skyway one month ago on June 2nd. The album was recorded this past winter at Cambridge Sound Studios in Philadelphia, PA and produced together by Mason Porter and Jim Salamone.
Review: Randy Harris