Mason goes with the flow

LISA WILTON

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

Third time's the charm.

At least that's what Saskatoon-based trio Wide Mouth Mason are hoping as they release their third album, Stew, today.

"We're all pretty satisfied with this album. This is finally our sound," says Wide Mouth's friendly drummer Safwan Jawed during an interview at the Sun.

Jawed, singer-guitarist Shaun Verreault and bassist Earl Pereira are forging through new, more rhythmically-heavy territory on Stew, perhaps in an attempt to put behind them the disappointing sales of their previous release, Where I Started.

Earlier this year, the band retreated into the studio to jam and work on fresh material.

Instead of worrying about record sales and writing hits, however, Wide Mouth Mason decided to simply go with the flow and follow wherever their imaginations took them.

"I think probably my favourite thing about this album is that listening to it now, I can tell that we weren't thinking about (record sales) while we were recording it," says Jawed.

"It stopped being about, 'I wonder if this is going to do well? I wonder if people are going to like it?' I think we just had a lot of fun writing the songs and recording and -- I don't want to sound like Spinal Tap here -- but I think we've taken another step forward in our musical evolution.

"Sales figures left everyone's minds and it loosened everything up to the point where we could really sit down and make music. But it does creep into your head every once in a while, especially when other people are talking about it around you."

While the band is best known for the blues-dipped guitar-rock of its first two major releases, Wide Mouth Mason threw in a variety of influences into the Stew pot.

It's a much more diverse and funkier recording than Where I Started and their self-titled major-label debut.

One might say it's less Cream and more Booker T. & the MGs.

The new boogie-down direction has much to do with the band's listening habits, but maybe even more to do with their choice of producer -- Big Sugar's Gordie Johnson.

"Gordie's really gifted at taking something that's a fusion of various elements and turning it into its own thing," says Jawed.

"He's done that with this own albums."

Johnson was brought in after things didn't work out between the band and the original producer-engineer team.

"We've never worked with anybody who's understood all of our different influences that well," comments Verreault.

"(Other producers) would get one or two of them really well and they'd bring that out in us. But if I talked to them about Sonny Boy Williamson, I may not be able to talk to them about Toots & the Maytals or something.

"With Gordie it was great, because not only could we talk about the music we liked, but we could also talk tonally-wise about stuff and I could say, 'I don't want my guitar to sound like this, it should sound like House Burning Down off Electric Ladyland for this part.' "

Adds Safwan: "Songwriting and structure-wise and the composition of everything, he's just a well-educated man about music. I think that was a very comforting thing for us."


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