I listen to a lot of singer/songwriters from Texas.  I learned a long time ago that every one of them has something in common — They are all really good.  I’m not going to say I love every song on every album I’ve listened to, but without question, there is more than a little to love about each of these artists.

Today, we can add Mason Lively to our list of favorite Texas artists.  His new 10-song album, “Stronger Ties” was released on April 6.  I listened to the album today.  I wasn’t really excited about the first song, “Heavy Toll”, which (to my ears) sounded more rock than country.  This song is much more than a toe-tapper.  There is some blues mixed in with this southern rock sound, and the writer seems to have pulled his music from more than a few influences.

“Early Grave” reminded me of something we might hear Hank Williams  Jr. sing. When a song starts with a banjo and a fiddle, you know it’s headed in the right direction.  This one is mid- to up-tempo, with a real Hank kind of beat and phrasing.  “Worry About Nothing” was the first one that made me go ‘there’s my Texas sound’.  It’s not the Shane Owens or Aaron Watson Texas sound, but it’s good music.  A little slower than the first two, but not slow enough to call a ballad.  Not sure if Mason is playing the harmonica in this song, but whoever that is certainly does  it well. Good advise for everyone in this song … going to worry about nothing and pray about everything.

If you are a fan of acoustic performances, you will really love “Hard To Let Go”.  This was one of my favorite cuts on this album.  I enjoyed the story as much as I liked the roles each instrument played throughout the song.  “Roleplay” is next.  This is a light-hearted, fun, ‘let’s play around in the bedroom’ song.  The lyrics are just what the song title suggests … “You can be my Juliet, I’ll be your Romeo”…”You can be my little Princes Leia, I’ll be your Hans Solo…”

When I started writing this, I didn’t plan on telling you all about every song, especially with a lengthy press release to follow the review.  But, I just found a lot to say about every song, and realized there wasn’t really any way I could skip any of them. That brings us to “Right Back To You”. This one also felt like it would fall into more of a ‘country/pop’ category than ‘Texas/country’ or ‘classic country’.  But, it does give us more great fiddle, and it’s just different enough from the first five songs to make you want to listen.

With a name like “Ballad of the Broken Heart” I was expecting… well, a ballad.  I didnt’ get one.  What I got was a fast song with a great beat, and hand-clapping rhythm, and some good guitar solos.  I always listen to albums and wonder how the artist would be at a live performance.  I can picture Mason on stage with this song.  He would pull the crowd into this performance form the first note.

“Lonely Comes Back Around” quickly moved to the top of my ‘this is my favorite song on the album’ list.  I’m not sure if it is the favorite, but without question, one of my favorites. We are hearing a lot more harmonica in this one.  I’m guessing that is Mason on the harmonica.

The winner for the best story on this album has to be “Worth the Fall”.   This is all you need to know before you listen for yourself.  “…but if I don’t see these dreams come true, it won’t be worth the fall”  It’s one of those songs that we all think we have lived, and could have written.

“Angel Wings” is the one that will remind you the most of what we now call ‘classic’ country, or ‘traditional’ country.  It is the kind of song we might have heard George Jones sing back when.  It’s a love song.  About someone perfect falling for someone who doesn’t think he is.  It’s a typical love song.  Beautifully sung, with a melody as good as the lyrics.

It goes without saying that this is a great debut album from Mason Lively, and I would recommend it to all country music fans.  With good vocals and fresh music (which seems to cover more than one genre’), we think this artist will be giving us a lot of great music in the years to come.

51u4zldBlyL._SS500Track Listing:

  1. Heavy Toll
  2. Early Grave
  3. Worry About Nothing
  4. Hard to Let Go
  5. Roleplay
  6. Right Back to You
  7. Ballad of the Broken Heart
  8. Lonely Comes Back Around
  9. Worth The Fall
  10. Angel Wings

[Press Release]  Newcomer Mason lively is off to a monumental start in 2018. With the commended release of his debut full length album “Stronger Ties,” the 20 year-old Texas music songwriter has found himself on a Formula 1 style career course travelling at break neck speed.  Last week, Lively was signed to the prestigious William Morris Endeavor, making him the youngest country music artist on the company’s roster.  For a new artist, especially one so young, to be picked up by one of the leading entertainment companies on the planet is incredibly rare and it reinforces the popular opinion that Mason Lively is a very special talent indeed. Mason is breathless with anticipation for what is coming next.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity. The results we’ve seen from my new album and the work by my incredible management team is something magical. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

Having served in the music business for years, managers Trey Newman and Stewart Mann, of War Bird Management, know how difficult it is for any artist to establish a music career let alone secure any kind of staying power.  It most definitely takes a passionate team to raise and artist through the ranks and proves a less daunting task when that artist has the intestinal fortitude to go the distance.  Trey Newman saw that immediately in Mason.  “It’s an exciting moment and well deserved opportunity for someone that works so hard for what he wants. Mason has the drive and work ethic designed for stardom.”  Stewart Mann has spent most of his adult life as the frontman for the acclaimed country blues band The Statesboro Revue and all the goes into making albums and touring the globe.  He was so taken by Mason’s budding talent that he was compelled to take on a co-managing role for the first time his career.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Mason and I’m so grateful that people are taking notice of his limitless talent, and that it’s happening so organically and spreading like wildfire.”

Stronger Ties” was released on April 6th to music critic’s delight.  Tastemakers, Texas Music Pickers, premiered the album declaring that it “cuts above the clutter of everything else,” and “has a compelling sound.”  Elmore Magazine, the voice of Americana music, also featured the album calling Mason “a quick study.” Other comments include “an artist that comes along and defies the odds and exceeds all expectations,”  “one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard” and “Urban, Paisley and Foster should be looking over their shoulder.”  It is most definitely going to be a long road ahead for this brilliant new talent, and it is unanimously agreed that everyone is looking quite forward to witnessing this young man’s journey. Keep up to date on tour dates at

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I listen to a lot of singer/songwriters from Texas.  I learned a long time ago that every one of them has something in common -- They are all really good.  I'm not going to say I love every song on every album I've listened to, but without question, there...