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Brent Mason’s Furious Fingerstyle Shred

Brent Mason’s Furious Fingerstyle Shred

Brent Mason has picked for the biggest and best names in country music: Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn, Blake Shelton, and George Strait are just a few of the country stars on whose records you can hear Mason’s Fender-on-Fender fretwork. But his solo on “Southbound Train,” the closing track on Travis Tritt’s 2000 record Down the Road I Go, might be his hottest work of all.

As Mason explains, the song scoots along at his favorite country tempo—a Cajun two-step, Mason says—which provides the rhythmic framework for his face-melter lead. Mason says the melodic and structural components came in part from his familiarity with jazz, and the mixing of jazz and blues with his usual twangy conventions. In fact, Mason’s furious note barrages occasionally earned him some raised eyebrows (and some choice words from Conway Twitty) in the more traditionalist Nashville studio system.

This might be the toughest solo our host has taken on so far on Shred With Shifty. The key to wrestling it? “You gotta keep playing [it] til you wanna pull out all your teeth and hair,” says Mason. Which Nashville producers and stars would let Mason off-leash in the studio? How does a session ace deal with hand injuries? Listen on, shredders. And if you’re brave enough, send in your take on Mason’s solo.

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Producer: Jason Shadrick

Executive Producers: Brady Sadler and Jake Brennan for Double Elvis

Engineering Support by Matt Tahaney and Matt Beaudion

Video Editors: Dan Destefano and Addison Sauvan

Special thanks to Chris Peterson, Greg Nacron, and the entire crew.