Last month, Willy Mason and Brendan Benson rounded up an all-star team of musicians and entered the upstairs apartment at Nashville’s United Record Pressing. Years ago, that apartment was used by artists and record execs who came to the the segregated south and found themselves excluded from hotels due to the color of their skin. Nowadays, it’s a sacred place, its original decor preserved and its original purpose — providing lodging for those who needed it — replaced by a desire to record timeless music in a timeless place.
Along with viola player Nina Violet, drummer Brad Pemberton, upright bassist Ben Plasse, harmonica player Jared Green and several others, Mason and Benson recorded seven songs in that apartment. All of the tunes were originally by Mason’s parents, folk artists Jemima James and Michael Mason, and their old-time appeal is evident on Upstairs at United, Vol. 7. Recorded straight to tape and produced by Benson himself, the album will be available this weekend at your neighborhood record store.
We’re happy to give you a sneak preview this afternoon, several hours before Record Store Day officially begins. Click below to watch the video for “Wild Dog Blues,” a live clip that captures the performance you’ll hear on the finished album.