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Interview:
Dave Mason steers his way into a Traffic Jam
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Dave Mason spent just a couple years and two albums as part of Traffic, and though his tenure tends to be given short shrift, he's responsible for some of the group's biggest early hits -- including "Feelin' Alright" and "Hole in My Shoe."

So this year Mason has decided to reclaim that part of his legacy with a show titled Dave Mason's Traffic Jam that mixes in more Traffic material with his array of solo hits.

"Obviously I can't go out as Traffic, but I wanted ot revisit the stuff from that time and that part of my life," says Mason, 67, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Traffic in 2004. "Traffic Jam seemed a nice sort of novel way of capturing and phrasing it, and it gives me a chance to play some of the song that I think people would like to hear and that I'd like to play -- some stuff we haven't played in going on 40 years, and some stuff I actually never played.

"So it's just sort of keeping that legacy alive and also changing up the show a little bit from what we usually do."

Mason -- who's recording a new EP called "Futures Past" for release later this year -- says his own tenure in Traffic was cut short by creative differences in 1968, though he still remains baffled by the conflict.

"It was straight-out, 'We don't like what you sing, we don't like what you play' -- they didn't beat around the bush," Mason recalls with a laugh. "I have somewhat of a pop sensibility. I like a hook. I like a melody, a turn of phrase -- that's why the early singles were all my songs. So whether that created some kid of rift of jealousy, I have no idea, but I was told my services were no longer required.

"But it was still great, you know? It gave me a place to see what it was I could do. I really hadn't written a thing until that band started, and a couple of good things came out of it, so I'm still proud that I was part of it."

Dave Mason's Traffic Jam performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts, 7878 Brighton Road. Tickets are $42 and $48. Call 810.299.4130 or visit www.brightonperformingarts.com.

Web Site: www.brightonperformingarts.com

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