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Monday, August 22

Mason Porter are riding high after the success of their latest EP "Heart Of The Mountains". It's was nice to sit down with Joe D'Amico before their annual Midnight Mountain Music Show and ask a few questions.

Mason Porter are riding high after the success of their latest EP "Heart Of The Mountains".  It's was nice to sit down with Joe D'Amico  before their annual   Midnight Mountain Music Show and ask a few questions. 

 Mason Porter is a hybrid bluegrass band that currently resides in Pennsylvania. Even though their music would sound at home in any Colorado resistance. They have released several quality albums throughout their career, including their latest E.P. "Heart Of The Mountains". They make phenomenal records, but  they have to be witnessed live to fully appreciate the talent and energy this band delivers to their craft. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing this band live, I highly recommend it. Recently, I caught up with Joe D'Amico and he was nice to give me a couple minutes of his time and answer a few of my questions. 
Photos by RON ADELBERG


K.L. Who were your biggest influences growing up? 
J.D. I grew up the youngest of seven, in a musical family, so early on I was exposed to allot, classical, big band jazz, Beatles,  classic rock. My dad taught my middle school music class about American folk and blues and I learned about Howlin’ Wolf and Woody Guthrie, that was huge. High school and college was a lot of Phish and Dead, which was probably the most significant influence to my early musical development. Bluegrass and a deeper dive in to folk and Dylan happened in my 20s and remains a big influence of my songwriting. 

K.L  Ironically our website began as Phish and The Dead. 
K.L. How did your latest album come together? 

J.D. Around December I was reading that the National Park Service was celebrating their centennial this summer. I’ve spent allot of time visiting the parks growing up and especially after college, and they are very important to me. There is definitely a deep spiritual connection to there for me.  A few of the tunes on the EP, You and I, Yosemite, and See America I had already written in the last year, and when I read this, I immediately knew what I was going to do with them. I wrote the chorus to Heart of the Mountains that morning, which I later found inspiration from John Muir to finish. After pitching the idea to the band, Tim came forward with Box of Answers and I asked Paul if he would want to do his Shenandoah. We started recording about a month later. 

K.L. Any Particular reason your last two releases have been EPs? 

J.D. It’s part cost, part time to record, and part time it takes to get it out. And it’s a quality over quantity thing too. 

K.L. Your band is obviously Bluegrass, but I hear so many other influences when I listen to your music. What kind of music would you call it? If you could event a genre. 

J.D. It’s American roots music at its core. It’s as much rock or folk or pop as it is bluegrass, plus these elements of jazz and electronica that come with the improvisational side of our live performance. We’ve been called roots-rock, space-folk, alt-grass, electro-acoustic, nothing that has stuck yet, but the music keeps evolving.  

K.L.  You have started covering the Grateful Dead in your live shows

J.D. We have had some Dead tunes in the set since the beginning. The Garcia/Grisman stuff and the Dead’s Reckoning we’re certainly a big influence on the early part of this band. Last year we did a series of shows that were Workingman’s Dead in its entirety, that got allot of attention here in Philly, and was a blast. We also a set at the Philly Folk Fest last year where we did “Folk Roots of the Grateful Dead”, where we did allot of the traditional tunes Jerry and the Dead covered. 

K.L. What is your favorite GD song and is the whole band fans?

J.D. Paul and I are the big Dead fans the group, other members too at varying levels. Favorite song, Crazy Fingers. 
  
Tour Dates plus Midnight Mountain Music Show (2 nights with Mason Porter). 

Independence Hall National Historic Park
Philadelphia, PA
National Park Service Centennial Celebration

Sept 16th and 17th
Midnight Mountain Music Show
Blakeslee, PA
2 nights of Mason Porter plus Tom Hamilton's American Babies, Coal Town Rounders and more.