Thumbing through social media recently, I stumbled on music from a young artist I wasn’t familiar with. So I tracked him down, and after many missed opportunities and conflicts, we finally managed to speak for an interview.
Mason Via (pronounced VIGH), from Danbury North Carolina, may just be 23, but has a name you will want to remember. There is music in his bones, and it runs deep in his bloodline. His father, David Via, has been in the bluegrass and acoustic music world for years. As a multifaceted artist who writes as well as sings, playing guitar and mandolin, David led his son Mason into the roots of his soul. Notice I didn’t say, his dad dragged him. Mason ran into the arms of this music. Growing up with a bluegrass dad, Mason attended many festivals and conventions, helping to mold him into what he is today.
This bundle of talent, both vocally and instrumentally, completed a Virginia Folklife Songwriter apprenticeship with his father. The plans were drawn out as Mason competed and placed in contests, picking up ribbons and wins at many contests throughout the Appalachian region. He was the 2019 Floydfest On The Rise competition runner-up, and is a three time winner of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival’s band competition.
In December 2019, Mason packed his bags and headed to “where all dreams come true,” Nashville, TN. Three months later on March 3, 2020, the weather whipped up two tornados, and Mason says, “I was literally watching debris fly around my car, and could hear that train sound.” At roughly the same time, COVID struck, and just like hitting a brick wall head on, one may have thought that Via’s fresh dreams were crushed. Bad weather, COVID…? No, nothing was going to keep this talented young man from racing into the bluegrass industry.
Via is hard to corner into just one genre of music, as he has an eclectic style of playing Appalchian funk, soulful acoustic, bluegrass, and groovy Americana. But there is one thing of which you can be assured. His voice rings with the roots of bluegrass and old time music.
For Mason, music is his bread and butter. He plays local gigs at an outdoor venue which he calls the Brewgrass Jam at The Brewer’s Kettle in Kernersville, TN (and even hosts a Kazoo Competition), and is often accompanied by his band, Hot Trail Mix.
In December 2020, Mason boarded a plane and flew to California to audition for American Idol. Of course, he couldn’t disclose any information. “You will just have to watch and see if I get a golden ticket.”
In January, Via released a new single, one he wrote called The Flood, which is widely available at the various streaming and download sites.
A full album of Mason Via’s music, Poverty Line, is finished, and Mason tells us, “I am reaching out to labels, and have highlight reels and touring information that I hope will interest them.”
So with all these influences swirling around his music, how does he describe his own sound, or style. His answer was simple, “I play what I am at the time.”
Whatever genre he is in right now, I can tell you this is a name you won’t forget, and one that could make headlines someday.