Where the Humans Eat
, the debut full-length album from this Martha's Vineyard native, is a sweet and soulful testament to youth's subtle, inherent brilliance. This is no ordinary teenager; he's a charming, graceful troubadour who's just as comfortable opening for The Grateful Dead as he is Death Cab for Cutie, delivering music easily cherished by all crowds and cross sections.
In the near-constant deluge of singer-songwriters to emerge in recent years, Willy Mason
towers above the rest through sheer quality. Listening to the 12 tracks on his debut album Where the Humans Eat
, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this 20-year-old native of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts for someone much older and more experienced. His off-kilter delivery--a bit off-key, a bit off-time--is just part of his charm. But Mason's real talent is as a songwriter, and he is almost without peer amongst his contemporaries. "It's a hard hand to hold / that is looking for control" he sings on "Hard Hand to Hold", a song about homelessness and disaffection that never preaches or judges. His keen observations and deft lyrics place him in an American tradition that includes Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams. Like the best protest singers, Mason is not motivated by anger at the way the world is, but hope in what the world can be. As a result, Where the Humans Eat
is sweet, simple and altogether excellent. --Robert Burrow