Timothy Mason Biography
Timothy Mason has been actively performing poetry and promoting folk music since the 1980′s. He honed is performance style in the early poetry slams and around the campfires of the fabled Kerrville Folk Festival.
An extensive background in human services, three years volunteering for a telephone crisis intervention hotline, training as a rape crisis counselor, four years working with developmentally disabled adults, a stint with court-involved youth, and eight years volunteering in a battered women’s shelter have given him a unique empathy with the quiet battles of daily survival.
Born in the Midwest and raised in North America, his family eventually settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, which he still calls home, although he has been in New England for almost three decades. On the east side of the Big River, he has called Worcester, Cambridge and South Boston MA home and after a few bi-coastal years commuting to Richmond CA he has recently returned to East Cambridge MA. He supports himself by providing bookkeeping services, tax preparation and consultations to independent artists and arts oriented small businesses. He is also the Director of the New England Folk Music Archives.
Over his 25 plus years presenting folk music to New England audiences his work has included reviving Club Passim, the legendary Harvard Square coffeehouse that began as Club 47, pioneering new audiences at Capo’s in Lowell MA and bringing The Old Vienna Kaffeehaus in Westboro, Massachusetts, to national prominence.
“His insight is genuinely hip because it is accessible.
And sensible. And kind.”
As an undergraduate at The University of Utah he chaired the student committee responsible for bringing The Rocky Horror Picture Show to the big screen behind “the Zion curtain”. Mason later attended graduate school at Antioch New England in Keene, New Hampshire, earning a Master’s degree in Organization and Management. He was voted “Most Standardly Deviated” and “Most Ambiguous”. He thought it best to avoid the corporate world. Thus far he has achieved this goal.
His poetry is drawn from his diverse experiences and is written to be performed aloud. He has collaborated with musicians on a number of occasions, including recording the cassette single Saddam’s Insane with prize-winning guitarist Geoff Bartley. Saddam’s Insane aired on National Public Radio’s HEAT show at the onset of the Gulf War. His work with Bartley has been followed with two full length CD’s.
“You reminded me of the Russian poet Yvegeny Yevtushenko in his earliest and best days.”
His most recent work Feral Voices published in February 2009 is a full length, 94 page collection of poetry giving a non-human voice and sensibility to the 21st century experience on our shared planet. It marks a return to the page for a poet whose emphasis is on performance and compliments his work from the late 1990′s.
His first book Gently, Like Water, Cracking Stone was released in April 1997. The 50-page perfect bound volume includes a CD of live performance. Introduced by social activist Barry Crimmins, this volume opened many doors and its innovative presentation has caught the attention of many artists and audiences alike.1998 saw the release of the CD “Bloodlines” which features music by award winning musician Geoff Bartley. A follow up collaboration “Bones and Breath” came in 2003 where they continue to break new and dynamic ground to combine song and poem into seamless new creations. This approach to collaboration is currently being explored with Alaska musician Tom Begich as the duo Bone Collectors.
“…beautiful imagery and solid structure mixed with an intense performance style….”
Mason has demonstrated his performing versatility in multiple appearances with the WPI Jazz Department, working with the full big band and smaller ensembles in pops concert settings and in the 2008 Ottawa Folk Festival Cross Cultural Collaboration where he combined his poetry with the music of The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jaxson Haldine, James Hill, Radslov Lorkavich, Anne Davidson and others in a performance recorded by the CBC.
From Anchorage, Toronto and Ottawa to Boston, Austin and Oakland festival and club appearances have solidified his place among contemporary New England artists and international audiences.