John-Alex Mason packs house for CD release show



Masons full band backstage at the Pikes Peak Center, where they opened for B. B. King last month.
  • Mason's band backstage at B. B. King gig

Last night, we caught up with John-Alex Mason at Front Range Barbeque, where the local bluesman celebrated the release of his sixth album, Jook Joint Thunderclap. (Read the Indy interview here.)

Mason, who returned to Colorado Springs last summer after a year in Portland and recently opened for B. B. King at the Pikes Peak Center, was in fine form, as was a stripped-down version of his band that included bassist Todd Edmunds, harpman Ronnie Shellist, and the especially kinetic drummer Alya Sylla.

Cody Burnside, grandson of the late bluesman R. L. Burnside, also sat in on backup vocals and the occasional rap.

The evening's highlights included Mason's "Riding On" (our current favorite from the new album), Willie Dixon's "My Babe," and a hypnotic version of "Rollin' and Tumblin'," a 1950 hit for Muddy Waters subsequently reinterpreted by artists ranging from Cream and the Yardbirds to Captain Beefheart and, yes, R. L. Burnside.

Here's a taste of Mason and his band's version from Saturday night:

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