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Stuart Mason playing at Sculpterra 

Stuart Mason

Stuart Mason

Stuart Mason of Los Osos will be performing live with Ryan Davidson as part of the Songwriters at Play series on Sunday Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. at Sculpterra Winery, 5015 Linne Rd, Paso Robles. The show is free.

Stuart Mason is known for his authentic vocals and nimble skill on guitar, mandola, and banjo. He has won awards for traditional singing (Goleta Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention), mandola (Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest), and songwriting (West Coast Songwriters Association). He is a member of international touring Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, and has performed at festivals in China, Scotland, Ireland, and across the United States. He also tours with old-time bluegrass band Little Black Train and Celtic folk band Story Road, and performs with the Old-Time Fiddle and Banjo Show.

This year Mason launched a fan funding campaign to help finance the production of his second solo album, to be titled “Tradition.”

Fan funding is a new and increasingly popular way for independent artists to finance their recordings. Fans of the artist have the option to donate and collectively raise money through web-based services. Fans are typically given rewards based on their monetary contributions.

Kickstarter has emerged as the most well-known platform for fan fundraising, and like Kleenex, the word itself has become a generic term to refer to the process. Among the many platforms now available, Stuart Mason chose Tilt, a tool designed to facilitate the online collection of funds from a group.

Mason is a long-time member of folk bands Molly’s Revenge, Little Black Train, and Story Road. The production of his second solo album, a collection of old public-domain American songs and tunes, is already underway. Mason has been collaborating with ethnomusicologist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Davidson of Chico, CA to create scratch tracks for 16 potential pieces.

Stuart was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia in 1956. He started playing bluegrass music for a living around southern Ohio in the mid 70s. Says Stuart, “Folk musicians survive by the generous support of their community. Ever since the days of wandering Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan, from fiddler John Doherty of the traveling people to Edden Hammonds of West Virginia, the patron has fed the artist. Yin and yang, soup and sandwich, banjo and strings: you can’t have one without the other. Tilt provides an easy way for the patron to be a part of this age-old symbiotic relationship.”

The so-called “tilt” is the amount needed in order to fund the project. The donor is not charged until the project tilts. There is also a target amount defined, above and beyond the tilt. In this case the tilt amount is $3000 and the target is $5000. Funds collected will be used for tracking, mixing, mastering, duplication, and promotion. The deadline for donations is Valentines Day, Feb. 14 at 4 PM.

Similar to a public radio fund drive, donors receive various rewards based on the amount they contribute. At lower levels, rewards include advance downloads of the new album, bumper stickers, signed CDs, and donor credit in the liner notes. At the highest level, the reward is Stuart’s own vintage cowboy guitar, a late 30s Recording King small-body archtop that has been fully restored and professionally set up. This rare guitar was built by Gibson for sale in mail order catalogs such as Montgomery Ward.​



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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at