Dave Mason (Photo provided by Park Life Unlimited)
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UPDATED June 21: We’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to the show courtesy of the Greenwich Odeum. E-mail mrabrams11@gmail.com by 9AM Wednesday, June 22 to win. Please put “Dave Mason Tickets” in the subject line. We’ll select a winner and let you know by Noon Wednesday.

He’s got one of the best resumes in rock and roll … for real.

We’re talking about Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dave Mason, who is headed to town on his “World in Changes” tour. Mason is probably best known as a solo artist, behind such hits as “Feelin’ Alright,” and “We Just Disagree,” a couple of his 1970s tunes that remain staples on classic rock radio.

But Mason began his music career in 1966 in the seminal rock band Traffic. After his stint with Traffic, he was a session player and touring artist with such greats as Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and later Fleetwood Mac. Find me a better rock and roll resume!

The guitarist was only 19 when he joined Traffic, and could never have imagined the fame the band would achieve. He has fond memories of recording with the band in the late 1960s.

“I was there for the first two albums,” he explained in an interview earlier this week. “We basically started out as four guys who liked similar music, we spent a year or so just hanging out before Traffic really got together. Our taste in music was pretty broad – I think Traffic is one of the earlier alternative bands, I think you could call it that. We mixed our own stuff and we were very experimental in the studio with what we were trying to do, it was a great time.”

At the time, he had no idea the band would still be played on the radio 50+ years later. “As far as it’s having legs so to speak, over the years, no, I mean I knew it was good when we were doing it, but no, I didn’t expect it.”

His fabled sessions with Jimi Hendrix are part of music lore. Mason played acoustic guitar on the Hendrix classic “All Along the Watchtower” (listen to those opening chords) and sang on “Crosstown Traffic.” He remembers working closely with the guitar icon in the studio.

“Hendrix was very unique and still is. I mean there are a lot of really great guitar players out there, but there aren’t any Jimi Hendrix’s out there anymore. He was very innovative,  a pretty quiet guy off stage, sort of like a Walter Mitty kind of character. It was a great experience to play with him, and record with him. For me, it was certainly one of the great experiences musically to be able to do that with him.”

Meanwhile, Mason, who still tours regularly at age 76, has seen a lot of change in the music industry. The biggest?

“Nobody buys records anymore,” he remarked. “And nothing new gets played on the radio, there’s no exposure for us anymore, that’s the biggest change. The internet is kind of a double-edged sword, it’s a great tool not just for artists, but for writers, but it hasn’t done so well for intellectual property, let’s put it that way.”

The upcoming tour features music from throughout his career. “It’s pretty much a mix,” he explained. “Most of the stuff that I prefer is more guitar-based, which is really what I started out as anyway, being a guitar player. I tend to lean a little more toward that stuff, also stuff from (1970 solo album) Alone Together, and about three or four Traffic songs. I have my own arrangements for a couple of them.”

“If you’re looking to see some dancing girls, smoke bombs, or flames, it’s the wrong act to see,” he joked. “If you love great music, then it’s a great band to see.”

Don’t miss the merch table … you might find a nice surprise there.

“We recorded Alone Together, Again (an updated remake of his first solo album) but really for my own amusement. 2020 was fifty years since the original. I did a multi-colored vinyl album with very similar packaging; we have those available. That came out really cool, some of the songs are a little more adaptive, ‘World in Changes’ is a little different,” noted Mason.

Although he’s not officially releasing too much new music these days, he has written a book that is expected to be released later this year.

“I got badgered into doing a book, I’m looking forward to seeing that come out,” he explained. “It’s called Only You Know and I Know. You can pre-order it through Amazon. Mostly I’m just out here singing and playing, a performing monkey, here I am folks. Traveling’s getting a little weary at this age but I always love playing.”

A few tickets remain for Mason’s upcoming shows in Boston and East Greenwich. This one’s highly recommended folks!

For tickets to the City Winery Boston show, click here.

For tickets to the Greenwich Odeum show, click here.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.