CD REVIEW: Jason Masi - Life is Wonderful
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist/Band: Jason Masi
Album: Life is Wonderful
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Indie Pop, Blues, Smooth Jazz
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: More vocal harmonies, Winded Songs, Short sided CD, Cover Art Concept
(ALEXANDRIA. VA) Jason Masi is an American/Virginia based singer-songwriter. He got his start with a 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. His latest 11 song release entitled ”Life is Wonderful” was released in 2014
The CD methodically takes to flight with jumpy intro piece “The Right Kind of Things”. This song serves up infectious rocked out musical ambience against mesmerizing vocals, hypnotic Americana-Blues guitar and impassioned melody that gently leads you by the hand down the path of poppy musical indulgence. Track 2 “Next to You” shifts gears a bit with its smooth as silk rhythm section and infectious keyboard/piano/organ accents and infectious vocal flair from Masi meshed against impressive groove and well placed solo guitar. Track 3 “Don’t Know Nothin’ is an impressive pop-rock-blues ditty that is full of musical peaks and valleys, impressive foot stomping groove that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. By track 3 this CD hits solid stride delivering many impressive and colorful songs back to back. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Counting Crows, Elvis Costello, Michael Bolton, Will Hoge, Edwin McCain, Mat Kearney, Ben Harper, John Mayer. On the other side of the sonic spectrum I can also hear brief flashes of Elvis Costello, The Fray and a modern-day version of Michael Bolton. By the way - Michael Bolton does not get enough credit for who he is, what he’s accomplished and how good of a vocalist he really is. Masi’s vocal flair at times also reminds of Isaac Slade (The Fray). I would classify this music as poppy blues-based singer/songwriter, Americana Pop Rock with a fun and invigorating touch. Masi has a good and soulful vocal flair. The CD at times presents brilliant peak and valley flow via a strong colorful artistic perspective from Masi behind the mic. Masi has good young look many will gravitate towards. Besides the four piece standard you will also notice rich layers of melodic jazz keyboards accents, lap steel, organ, impressive solo guitar, electric piano, melodic keyboard, rhythm guitar, low end beats and enticing melodies - all built on a thick as a brick rhythmic foundation. Kudos goes out to the amazing fretwork from (Mike Jarvis). Masi showcases a highly impassioned and infectious Baritone singing and writing style that takes no prisoners. He also delivers an impressive vibrato and soulful singings style. The musicianship and compositions are pretty solid across the board as Masi is clearly letting it all hang out in a fun way with these pieces. All production aspects check out. CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. Masi takes many impressive vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong and confident vocal ability. I like his power and passion. From grooving “The Situation’, to impassioned “Windy Road” to intoxicating “Grain of Sand” to grooving “People” to heartfelt “Miss You Around” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with the title track Track 11 “Life is Wonderful” the perfect “very cleverly brilliant” finale statement for a CD like this.
I wish there were more vocal harmonies throughout, this would mix up the vocal delivery a bit. All songs over 5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. The CD is just a tad bit short with 11 Tracks. Perhaps 1-2 more tracks are needed to make it a fully loaded CD release. Though the cover art is interesting it really doesn’t math this style of music very well insofar as marketability. I wish there were 1-2 songs with just Masi and an acoustic guitar in an unplugged musicals setting.
“Life Is Wonderful” by Jason Masi is an uplifting, soulful and compelling musical journey. This DIY composer, producer, musician, visionary is making waves for himself for all the right reasons. At the end of the day Jason Masi is a musical mastermind and powerful musical force any way you look at him. During my initial research I discovered he’s quite the hot topic live. The strong suit of "Life is Wonderful" is its amazing vocal touch and song musical flow. There isn't a weak peace on this entire CD. Masi gets high marks from me for delivering a captivating yet carefree vibe - nice touch. “Life is Wonderful” by Jason Masi will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want an easy flowing pop musical experience to fill their atmosphere. This straight forward, "short but sweet" easy to digest musical format makes for a great musical experience many will enjoy.