Whether they’re singing round the campfire or singing around the microphone in our studio, West Chester folk ensemble Mason Porter conveys a sense of warmth. Its CSN-esque harmonies ring out, its songs (and interpretations of others’ songs) carry strongly performed as a full band as much as an acoustic trio – which is how we got to record MP for its Key Studio Session. Singer-mandolinist-guitarist Joe D’Amico took the lead on four of the selections: the combo’s new rendition of “Alberta,” a traditional folk number popularized by Bob Dylan; “Hard Luck and Trouble,” a staple from the band’s Thunder in the Valley LP ; and two brand new songs. Upright bassist Tim Celfo sang out on a sprightly new number as well (“Can’t See”), and singer-guitarist Paul Wilkinson blended in brilliantly on both ends, giving a good taste of what to expect from the new record Mason Porter plans to release later this year. The musicians had a busy 2011, between the various re-releasings of their excellent 2010 covers album Story of the Rifle, extensive touring and D’Amico’s own solo offering, Asleep in my Shoes. Their focus at the start of this year is light and local, with shows at Lancaster Dispensing Co. (Jan. 28) and The Note (Feb. 2). But stay tuned, since the new recordings are set to be harvested once summertime rolls.
folk, Joe D'Amico, Lancaster Dispensing Co., Mason Porter, The Key Studio Sessions, The Note