Mason Summit

Talented teen shows that pop music and poetry can be harmonious

Los Angeles, CA 12/17/13:  Mason Summit began writing and performing his own songs at an early age.  His father, the actor/musician Christopher Allport, taught him his first chords. When Summit was eleven, Chris died in a tragic ski accident involving an avalanche.  As a way to cope with this devastating loss, he turned to music and writing.
Now seventeen, Mason Summit took several years to write the songs that eventually formed his first CD, Absentee.  “(The record) is comprised of the best songs I had written over the course of a few years,” he said.  “The oldest song is ‘Jésus Behind the Ice-Cream Cart,’ which I wrote at the age of fourteen, and the latest number, ‘Better Half,’ I wrote almost halfway through the process of recording the album.” 
The players on Absentee are some of the best that Los Angeles has to offer.  John Groover McDuffie, a long-time guitarist for Rita Coolidge, plays electric, lap and pedal steel guitar and also took over duties for engineering, mixing and mastering.  Zander Schloss (Circle Jerks, The Weirdos) is on bass, with Shawn Nourse (I See Hawks in LA, Dwight Yoakam) rounding out the rhythm on drums.  Al Keith (Bonedaddys, Sugar Ray) adds percussion and Lynn Coulter (Rita Coolidge, Carole King) plays tambourine while Mason Summit takes on vocals and several instruments: acoustic, electric and baritone guitar, organ, dulcimer, harmonica, vibes and pan flute.
Because the songs are written over a span of time, the style and feel of the songs vary.  “’Jésus Behind the Ice Cream Cart’ is a product of my middle-school Green Day phase,” Summit tells us.  “’Walk on Water’ is more country-influenced, while ‘I’ve Never Surfed’ is an homage to The Beach Boys and The Rascals, two of my favorite ‘60s groups.”  Wanting to demonstrate his love for all genres (from Hank Williams country to the rock n’ roll of Buddy Holly), Summit immersed himself in his favorite albums during the recording of Absentee, listening to Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Grace by Jeff Buckley, Either/Or by Elliott Smith and Chet Baker Sings
While “Jésus behind the Ice Cream Cart” was not based on a true event, many of the songs are, “…especially the teenaged angst-ridden love songs” Summit confesses, while also admitting, “The title track deals with my emotions, particularly anger, after my father’s death in 2008.  I had my brother, Andrew Allport, come in and read poetry on the fadeout of ‘Absentee’ and he also plays the guitar solo.”  Summit dedicates Absentee to the memory of his father.
Wise beyond his years, Mason Summit shares his view on his artistic process.  “I think of songs as a way of communicating and my approach is summed up in a line from one of my favorite songs, ‘Hazey Jane II’ by Nick Drake: ‘If songs were lines in a conversation, the situation would be fine.’”
Absentee has an official release date of March 25th, 2014, but Summit adheres to the adage that “rolling stones gather no moss”.  He’s already in-studio with a new recording that will guest James King of Fitz and the Tantrums on saxophone and flute.  King became aware of Mason Summit when a thirteen-year-old Mason covered the band’s song, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” and posted it on YouTube. John McDuffie is again working with Summit on the new record, both playing and in production.
With so many heavy hitters recognizing his talent and getting behind him, it won’t be long before Mason Summit is a household name.