Fraser / Live Music: One-man band not to be missed
Audiences are invited to see what all the buzz is about at Rocky Mountain Roastery as it hosts musician John-Alex Mason as part of the fourth season of its Java Mic Nights in Fraser.
Mason, who has played here before at the Blues from the Top, the Java Cat, and has opened for two Grand County Blues Society events, said he likes playing the smaller gigs, especially coffee shops “because I can see everyone and connect with the audience.”
The musician, born and raised in Colorado Springs, blends foot drums, guitar and vocals to create what the musician calls “deep country blues.” He is a one-man band not to miss.
He attributes his passion of music to two people from his childhood. His big brother introduced him to musicians like Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.
His godmother opened his eyes to gospel music as he listened to her as she sang in a mass choir and at performances for her Baptist church.
As he grew older, Mason spent a majority of his time listening to blues records and he had the chance to see musicians like Johnny Winter and harpist James Cotton play at Colorado College.
“I was pretty-well floored by those two shows,” he said. “I finally came to when Cotton’s guitar player asked me if everything was all right and I realized that I was the only person left in the theater, still staring up at the stage.”
Mason later made a move to Vermont to pursue a conservation biology degree, but he never lost hold of his original desire to play music and it was in Vermont that he also met fellow blues artist Gerry Hundt and started performing live. Since then, he has opened for BB King, James Cotton and Jimmie Vaughan.
He won the 2001 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition and was asked back to teach slide guitar at the festival’s guitar camp. The experience tapped into a new desire to pass on what he’s learned and Mason spent a portion of this past year organizing and leading a trip for high school students to visit the Mississippi Delta, Memphis and New Orleans to interact with musicians there.
Roastery audiences unfamiliar with the musician are sure to warm up to the music of Mason as he displays a wide variety of talents putting together one heck of a show.
He’s been working on some “new arrangements of some old gems that I love” and looks forward to hitting “a few of those for certain” Friday night.
As for Mason’s near future, a CD release party is scheduled Saturday, Jan. 12, with special guests at Venue 515 in Manitou Springs, and the GCBS elected to send him as its representative in the solo/duo category at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis at the beginning of this upcoming year “and I am honored to be their man,” he said.
Each night during the ski season, the Fraser Roastery will be hosting a wide selection of musical talent from all over the country. Upcoming performers include Joe Farstad and Oly Jan. 4, Paper Starts Jan. 11, Aaron Espe Jan. 18 and the Really Serious String Band Jan. 25.
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