Music Veteran James Mastro Paints a Colourful Picture with New LP “Dawn of a New Error”

Review by Tony Rothschild
James Mastro has been a highly-regarded songwriter and guitarist since his teen years in CBGB stalwarts The Richard Lloyd Group. A member of The Bongos, a radio and MTV staple who released three lauded records via Gem and RCA including 2023’s re-release Numbers With Wing, Mastro later moved to center stage as frontman for Americana fave The Health & Happiness Show, releasing three critically acclaimed albums on Bar-None and Cropduster.  Mastro has opened on tour for WilcoJohnny CashGolden SmogBarenaked LadiesBeat FarmersThe BlastersKirsty MacColl, and collaborated with Texas troubadour Butch Hancock. In 2001 he joined ranks with Mott the Hoople‘s legendary singer Ian Hunter and has served as his left-hand man ever since, touring and playing on Hunter’s last six albums. Additionally, he’s toured as a guitarist with Patti SmithJohn CaleAlejandro EscovedoGarland JeffreysThe Jayhawks, and Southside Johnny

Now, James Mastro is releasing his Dawn of a New Error LP, a colourful collection of 11 tracks that showcase the artist’s impressive songwriting and musical talents. Mastro has proven once again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

From the very first track, “Right Words, Wrong Song,” it is clear that Mastro means business. The song bursts with energy, displaying Mastro’s signature sound and clever lyrics. With a guest appearance from Ian Hunter, the song reaches new heights and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The second track, “My god,” shows Mastro’s vulnerable side and highlights his introspective songwriting abilities. With a simple yet powerful melody, Mastro’s vocals shine as he sings about belief in oneself and in others. It is a refreshing change of pace from the high energy of the first track and showcases Mastro’s versatility as an artist.

One of the standout tracks on the album is “Three Words.” With its infectious guitar riffs and catchy chorus, it is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Mastro’s vocals are full of emotion, and with Hunter’s guest appearance, the song becomes even more dynamic.

The album also features a wide range of musical styles, from the twangy Americana of “Trouble” to the gospel-inspired “Someday Someone Will Turn Your Head Around.” Mastro seamlessly navigates through different genres, creating a diverse and interesting listening experience.

The production of the album, done by Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith’s bassist and collaborator), is top-notch. Each track is expertly crafted, with layers of instruments and vocals that add depth and richness to the overall sound. From the haunting mandolin in “Everywhere” to the soaring organ in “The Face of the Sun,” the production elevates the already impressive songs to a whole new level.

Mastro’s guitar skills are also on full display throughout the album. As a highly sought-after session musician, he flexes his guitar-playing muscles on every track, showing off his technical abilities and creating memorable riffs and solos.

The album’s lyrics are also worth noting. Mastro’s songwriting is thoughtful and engaging, with lyrics that touch on a variety of topics including love, hope, and perseverance. In particular, “River Runs Forever” stands out with its stream of consciousness lyrics that paint a vivid picture of lost loves and the end of days.

It is clear that Mastro has surrounded himself with a talented group of musicians for this album. The guest appearances from Ian Hunter, Megan Reilly, and the Jersey City New Heights Gospel Group add new layers and dimensions to the songs, making them even more unforgettable.

Overall, Dawn of a New Error is an excellent addition to James Mastro’s already impressive discography. It showcases his skills as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, and highlights his ability to seamlessly navigate through different genres. With its expert production, memorable lyrics, and standout performances, this album is a must-listen for any music fan. Mastro’s passion and talent shine through in every song, making this LP a true masterpiece.

Album Pre-Save/Order Link: