The rock & roll cocktail calls for equal parts flamboyance and bedrock musical talent. But if you lack the former ingredient, the latter'll get you a reliable buzz. That's been the case with Dave Mason, who earned his rep through the high quality of his songwriting and guitar playing. As Joe Perry said: Let the music do the talking.
And this music spoke. Mason was a founding member of Traffic and wrote some of the best songs on its first couple of timeless LPs, Mr. Fantasy and Traffic. If recordings were a kind of home (and surely, the best ones are just that), the latter album would be a shelter in some green vale of the mind. Steve Winwood's songs are the clean winds enfolding it; Mason's tunes are its resilient walls.
After quitting Traffic in 1969, Mason moved to LA and recorded Alone Together, which remains his best solo work. It's a SoCal slow burn, with piano accents and guitar parts like morning sun gilding its corners. Mason also guested on various famous friends' projects. He's on the Stones' Beggars Banquet as well as George Harrison's All Things Must Pass -- fitting, since Mason's guitar signature was always Harrisonesque in its economy of phrasing and its melodic assuredness. Dave Mason hasn't released new material in a long time, but he still tours: happy news for longtime fans, or young dogs willing to learn old tricks.
Shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25; call 636-940-4300 for more information.