Steve Mason aired his new album About the Light at Rough Trade

Steve Mason is back – with a beau­ti­ful and con­fi­dent new album to start off 2019 on a pos­i­tive note. About The Light dropped this week and he start­ed pro­mot­ing it with an appear­ance at Rough Trade East: I love these lit­tle gigs in the east Lon­don record shop, where you get to see the artists up close as they play a few num­bers from their new album (often in a slight­ly ‘rough around the edges’ fash­ion which can be more inter­est­ing than see­ing the mate­r­i­al lat­er, on tour, in a more pol­ished guise). On your way out you can, if you wish, get your CD or vinyl signed.

Mason’s lat­est album is an uplift­ing col­lec­tion per­formed with his live band – About the Light has much more of a sense of imme­di­a­cy than his for­mer three solo albums. Steve opens with Stars around my Heart, it’s an anthemic track with a hit of soul, full of con­fi­dence and jubi­la­tion, plus a catchy cho­rus: as a way of announc­ing to his audi­ence just how he’s feel­ing these days, this song nails it. Title track About the Light is one of the high points of both the album and this per­for­mance, build­ing from the sonorous open­ing key­board notes it blos­soms into a bluesy, gospel-tinged beau­ty of a song with that addic­tive­ly euphor­ic qual­i­ty that runs like a thread through Steve Mason’s work.

Span­ish Brigade is a pow­er­house of a tune which did­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly stand out on first hear­ing as one of the stronger num­bers, but it comes into its own per­formed live. And Fox on the Rooftop is one of the most inter­est­ing songs on the album and I’m glad he includ­ed it, with Pink Floyed-esque floaty gui­tar flour­ish­es that ebb and flow through this dreamy and lush num­ber lyrics inspired by a fox seen at night (‘cheeky bug­ger with the light in his eye’) and Steve’s voice sound­ing warm and soulful.

Steve Mason is on tour now, dates here

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