Mason Brothers Article

Mason Brothers’ heartland at Mahoe

  The TET Stadium might seem a bit off the beaten track for a Kiwi music icon like Wayne Mason, but for Wayne and younger brother Paul it’s one of the nearest performing venues to the one place they both identify with strongly, and that’s Mahoe, 7 miles west of Stratford.  Wayne is well-known as a founding member of The Warratahs, and wrote their first hit song “Hands of My Heart”.  But his place in the story of NZ music is due even more to his song “Nature” which he wrote in the late 60s when he was in The Fourmyula.  It was a no. 1 hit in 1970, was covered by The Muttonbirds in the 90s, and then officially scooped the prize as NZ’s best song when the best Kiwi songs were compiled in 2001 – “Nature’s Best”.

  Wayne left The Warratahs in 1994, has recorded three solo albums, and these days appears on piano in the touring musical combos of people like Andrew London, Rob Joassand Laura Collins, as well as with his own band.  His blues and boogie piano playing is legendary, and he still writes great songs.  As a musician he is more in demand than ever.  But who would know all those other songs from years ago, like The Fourmyula’s Ötaki” or “Thru the Southern Moonlight” by Rockinghorse in the 70s?  Enter Wayne’s younger brother and part-time wannabe musician Paul Bowers-Mason, Wayne’s long-time career fan.

  “Maybe we could do a gig together and play all your best songs in one go”, was Paul’s suggestion.  The idea was for Wayne to front on guitar or piano, while Paul did some backing vocals and played upright bass.  Their first gig at the 4th Wall Theatre in New Plymouth last year sold out, and warmed the hearts of the audience that night.  So now it’s two brothers in search of more audiences.

  That’s where the Mahoe and Stratford connection comes in.  Paul explains, “Wayne and I are 13 years apart and our family moved around.  The only house we both remember well was our uncle’s place on the farm at Mahoe, where the family went for every school holidays.  It was the farm of Vernon, John and Nola Hughes, and the house used to be opposite the Mahoe Hall.  But it means we have a few cousins around the Stratford district still.  It’s called the ‘NZ tour’ on the posterbut the first weekend of that is all around Taranaki.  Wayne grew up in New Plymouth and I live there now, so with the friends and family connections it’s a good place to start.”

  The Mason Brothers are hoping that a heartland audience will take to the music too.  With a very acoustic sound, the music will end up being quite easy listening.  In a very biased younger brother sort of way, Paul thinks it’s just great music.  “There’s plenty of catchy rhythms and some beautiful melodies too.  He simply knows how to write really good songs, and they stand the test of time.  It’s like a 50-year history of Kiwi pop music in one evening.  But when Wayne is on stage, the energy levels are really intense.  He just loves playing, and he’s never slowed down.”