Cynthia G. Mason: Quitter’s Claim

Cynthia G. Mason - Quitter's Claim

Cynthia G. Mason - Quitter's Claim

  1. Like a Lifer Out for Good Download Like a Lifer Out for Good Version MP3
  2. Evergreen
  3. Breaks the Drill
  4. Fits and Starts
  5. Thrown
  6. Claim
  7. To & Fro
  8. Nerve
  9. The Way the Morning Came
  10. Quit While You’re Misled

Cynthia G. Mason – vocals, guitar
Larry D. Brown – guitar, vocals, harmonica

All songs by Cynthia G. Mason

Engineered and mixed by Larry D. Brown

Album info

Intimacy and honesty are what draw people to Cynthia G. Mason. The Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter has the rare ability to bring listeners inside her emotions. For nearly 10 years, Mason has earned acclaim and fans through a series of self-released recordings. On Quitter’s Claim, Mason makes her songs widely available for the first time with a national release.

Mason’s voice is best compared to Suzanne Vega and Chan Marshall of Cat Power, but her voice is more than just her vocal intonations. She also has a distinct voice as a writer, crafting elegant, engaging ballads of regret, guilt, and longing. Her songs – always dark and unhurried – are marked by opposition. She is open, but guarded; honest, but mysterious; bitter, but reassuring; calm, but unsettled; restless, but complacent. Her songs are quiet ruminations that somehow resonate loudly.

Her first set of new songs in five years, the tracks on Quitter’s Claim are raw and delicate. Backed only by sparse acoustic guitar, Mason allows nothing to distract from her assured voice and cathartic lyrics. The result is a collection of songs that appear cold and dark, but reveal themselves to be warm and permeating.

Depending on your frame of reference, Quitter’s Claim marks either a departure or return to form for Mason. After experimenting with a backing band and elaborate production for her self-titled, self-released 2001recording, Quitter’s Claim brings her back to her roots with a stripped-down, raw production style that presents her songs with utmost immediacy.

While the recording style may alternate, there are elements of Cynthia’s music that are moving in one direction. Most essentially, Cynthia’s lyrics have entered a new level of sophistication and superiority. Her songs have always been raw and revelatory, commanding and engaging, poignant and intrepid, but the 10 songs that make up Quitter’s Claim advance her style in a huge leap that was worth the wait.

While the arrangements of her previous record were well-suited, her first-person songs are even more engaging in first-person singular. Cynthia is joined by just one other musician on the album, guitarist and longtime accompanist Larry D. Brown, who makes music under the Grey Reverend moniker. The sparse arrangements and the intentional room ambience of the recordings give the album a perfectly balanced level of distance and warmth.

Having just two guitars and vocals might seem monotonous, but Mason does an excellent job with Brown, who produced the recordings, to vary the proceedings. First of which, is that even though the overall tempo of Mason’s songs is always slow, she and Brown do an excellent job of varying the underlying guitar tempo in each song. There is also a certain subtlety as to how the duo augment the base material. On a number of tracks, Brown sneaks a delicate harmonica into sections of songs; rather than playing for the course of an entire song, he instead uses the harmonica for sporadic texture. Backing vocals by Brown and Mason (overdubbed) along with other subtle touches give the album an incredible amount of depth.

The songs that comprise Quitter’s Claim developed over the past five years. Most of the songs are ones that Mason has been playing live for almost that long. The time away from recording has given those songs time to grow, develop, and evolve into the perfect paintings that they truly are. While Quitter’s Claim presents an artist who has been growing a devoted fan base and developing her craft for ten years, in many ways the album also presents a new artist who deserves to be recognized as a fresh voice with a remarkable talent as both a writer and perfomer.

Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer {Michael Pelusi, Dec 2006} “Her entrancing, hushed songs never go to obvious places. Instead, they
feature unexpected chord progressions and intriguingly elliptical
lyrics”… “Excellent”

Philadelphia City Paper {Brian Howard, Dec 2006} “[Quitter’s Claim] delivers on the promise of [Mason’s] eponymous CD and ups the ante.”

Philadelphia Daily News {Sara Sherr, Dec 2006} “Gentle enough for the ‘XPN/Lilith crowd, but her darkly observant lyrics and intricate guitar picking have earned her comparisons to Cat Power, Suzanne Vega and Kristin Hersh.”

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