Wide Mouth Mason – I Wanna Go With You
CD: 12 Songs, 38 Minutes
Styles: Guitar Monster Blues, Acoustic and Electric Blues, All Original Songs
Taking a look at the down-home cover art on Wide Mouth Mason’s eighth album, I Wanna Go With You, you might expect it to be a country blues album a la Will The Circle Be Unbroken. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Mason and his posse play fantastic acoustic guitar, including dobro and slide. However, they also get gritty, earning my “Guitar Monster Blues” tag for good reason. Vocally, front man Shaun Verreault channels Tom Petty in the truest sense of the word. Close your eyes and you’ll swear a certain Heartbreaker is the leader of this band. That’s not the only great thing about this CD. Another is the variety of musical styles and rhythms, keeping listeners on their toes. A boring album, this is not. One that’s hard to pin down? You bet. Its only real minus is the lack of an included lyrics booklet. Others might be disappointed at its svelte 38-minute running time. Wide Mouth Mason has a lot to say and play. They need not rush.
When one imagines the quintessential example of a blues band, the first thing that comes to mind is not a couple of Canadian kids coming of age in the 1980s. Nevertheless, Wide Mouth Mason formed in 1995 in Saskatchewan and released their debut album, The Nazarene, in 1996. It drew immediate interest and attention from the Canadian music industry. Re-recorded songs from that debut, as well as some new songs on their 1997 self-titled sophomore recording, cemented a major label record deal, Gold status in Canada, a JUNO nomination for Best New Group, and launched the career of one of the country’s most popular blues-based rock bands. Time and again, they’ve proven themselves a fresh new vehicle in the genre, suited for the 21st century.
Along with Shaun Verreault (singing, tri-slide lap steel, guitar and bass) are Safwan Javed on drums, percussion, vocals and “lawyering,” Ryan Dahle on bass and vocals, Darren Parris on bass, Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall and Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe on harmonica, and Tonye Aganaba on background female vocals for “Every Red Light.”
“Bodies in Motion” starts things with a bang – and a growl. Reminiscent of Too Slim and the Taildraggers, this is an anthem for folks on the go, adventurers who recoil at the thought of rest. “Bodies in motion got to stay in motion. Like the waves in the ocean, river to the sea.” Next comes “Every Red Light,” a magnificently moody number that Mr. Petty himself might like to cover. It’s catchy and romantic without being sappy: “I hit every red light on the way to your place tonight. I was stuck behind a slow-ass car. All I want to be is where you are.” This should be featured in an upcoming indie drama or romcom. “Some Kind of Requiem” features acoustic bliss, though it’s jumpy instead of plodding. Play along if you know how, or air-guitar if you don’t. Later comes “High Road,” a rip-roaring surprise. Never mind the methodical intro: this will get you on your feet faster than sitting on hot coals. “High ro-o-o-ooad,” Verreault sings with spine-tingling vigor. “You’re not on the map that I read. I’m down low, I’m down and almost dead.” The title track is another highlight, bringing a country vibe to the proceedings.
Make no mistake: Wide Mouth Mason’s guitar prowess is scary-good on their latest release!