CD REVIEW: Jason Masi - Power of a Woman
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Jason Masi
Album: Power of a Woman
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Adult Contemporary, Singer-Songwriter, R&B
Sounds Like: Damien Rice, Van Morrison, Gordon Lightfoot, maybe even some Bill Withers in there.
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Notable Songs: "How to Be Rich", "Amends", "Woman Will You Be My Friend"
Jason Masi is an American Washington D.C. based singer-songwriter. He got his start with Richmond, VA based group, Jubeus, opening for acts like Blind Melon, Everclear, and SOJA and releasing two well received albums, "Two Tone Circles" 2004 and "Natural Mood" 2007, respectively. The latter was named as a top DIY (Do-It-Yourself) release by Performing Songwriter Magazine ((Issue 107 - January/February 2008). In 2010 he debuted as a solo artist with a more acoustic soul/R&B songwriter approach. He has since released three solo albums, "Balance & Pull", 2010, "Life Is Wonderful", 2012 and "Power of a Woman", 2014. His transition has led him to supporting slots for hit songwriters like Bleu and Darryl Worley, and has kept him busy on the road performing over 250 shows per year. "How to Be Rich" is the first track of the album and it sets the stage for a great collection of songwriter focused, old-school R&B driven songs. Masi moves right back into singer-songwriter territory with "Amends" starting the song out with solo acoustic guitar and vocal before the rest of the band kicks in. Masiís voice has an honest and earnest quality delivered with a laid-back, slightly raspy quality. Itís a voice that sounds like its seen many miles on the road and gone through many experiences, a great story-telling voice. Right away you want to believe in what Masi is saying, itís that convincing. The title track "The Power of a Woman" continues the albumís formula to this point Ė acoustic guitars, bass, drums, some nice backing organ and spare electric guitars supporting Masiís vocal. "Never Alone" throws back to 70s pop-rock complete with the accenting strings and a jazzy guitar solo. "Woman Will You Be My Friend" also features a partial duo with a female vocalist set against a laid-back groove.
Power of a Woman is a very well-produced and recorded album. Liner notes werenít included for review but the production and performances across the board are all top-notch. Thereís no overplaying and the relaxed vibe suits Masiís vocal style to a tee. Thereís not a lot of vocal stretches, Masi is comfortable in what he does and he does it exceptionally well. Production-wise they did a good job in making this sound more like a record that could have been made in the 70s rather than a polished and hyped modern recording. Thereís lots of warmth to it and I could see this album spinning in the background at a cool dinner party mixed with some selected 70s artists. This is not to say however that itís a total retro album. I feel that the 70s were a pinnacle era for some of the greatest songwriters and Masi fits into that niche and delivers a great album here. He manages to take things into contemporary territory while keeping his feet firmly on the shoulders of the great singer-songwriters who came before.
Great job, great production. Fans of bluesy R&B with a singer-songwriter focus will love this.