The ongoing series highlights musicians and session singers who have played important roles in either the recording studio or concert tours. The program will take place on Saturday, May 20, at 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Nashville Cats is included with museum admission and free to museum members. Seating is limited, and a program ticket is required for admittance.
As one of the most recorded guitarists in history, Mason estimates that he has created distinctive instrumental hooks on more than a thousand Billboard Top 10 hits spanning four decades. He has been named the CMA Musician of the Year twice and the ACM Guitarist of the Year a record 11 times.
Born in Van Wert, Ohio, Mason grew up in a musical family and taught himself to play guitar at age five. After appearing on local television programs and playing in bands in Ohio, he moved to Nashville and began working with the Don Kelley Band. Chet Atkins saw Mason play and invited him to appear on his Grammy-winning 1985 album, Stay Tuned, which included top guitarists George Benson, Larry Carlton, Earl Klugh, Mark Knopfler, Steve Lukather and Dean Parks.
Mason’s early sessions included recording with Lee Greenwood, Dan Seals, Randy Travis and Keith Whitley. In the 1990s, he worked several sessions a day as one of the most in-demand session guitarists in Nashville. Mason played on hits by Toby Keith, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Shania Twain, Steve Wariner, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn, Glen Campbell, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs and George Strait.
In 2009, he won a Grammy for Country Instrumental of the Year for his work on Brad Paisley’s “Cluster Pluck,” and he played on Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country,” the 2019 CMA Single of the Year. He has also performed on hits by Luke Combs, Josh Turner, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack and Chris Young. Mason recorded two albums of his own, and as a songwriter, has cuts by Lee Greenwood, Johnny Mathis, Collin Raye, Billie Joe Spears, Jim Ed Brown & the Browns, Conway Twitty and Keith Whitley.
The interview will be illustrated with archival photos as well as audio and film clips. Following the program, Mason will sign commemorative Hatch Show Print posters.
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