Willy Mason – Carry On

Communion, 2013

A more melancholic Mason returns with his exotic version of rootsy, folk songs that have always seemed ideal for his gravelly voice. Sounding much wiser than his years, the blues and country-inflected stories are timeless, and he tosses in some experimental moments against his always thoughtful wordplay and warm vocal melodies. While his songwriting prowess is as strong as ever, the production has jumped up considerably, which equals a happy listener here.

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Fionn Regan – 100 Acres Of Sycamore

fionnregan-100acresHeavenly, 2012

Making exceptional use of gentle strumming and plaintive singing, Regan delivers vivid wordplay to illustrate his intimate and often introspective musings, and adds pianos and female backing vocals to his string heavy arrangements to add some variety to the dark atmospheres. Relying on themes of nature and love (usually love gone awry), there is a unique, poetic elegance here, Regan using his instruments sparingly mostly, though tracks like “The Horses Are Asleep” display a fuller dynamic. A soothing outing full of delicate beauty and romantic balladry, he’s has been referred to as ‘his generation’s answer to Bob Dylan’ and is living up to that compliment quite well.