Dave Mason

Dave Mason hasn't had the illustrious solo career of former Traffic band-mate Steve Winwood. No platinum-selling albums, no Grammys, no sold-out shows with Clapton at the Garden. But as American-sounding, 60-something British blues-rockers go, he's a distinctly cooler cat. After penning Traffic's best-known song, "Feelin' Alright," in the late '60s, Mason took leave of the band and established himself as a songwriter and sought-after session musician, collaborating with the likes of The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, and Fleetwood Mac. Legend has it that Jimi Hendrix first heard "All Along the Watchtower" while chilling out in Mason's living room. And, unlike Winwood, he managed to make it through the '80s without sporting a mullet. Though his original output has slowed down somewhat over the past two decades (2008's 26 Letter — 12 Notes long play was his first studio work in 19 years), Mason's vast backlog of smart, well-crafted '70s rock has engendered a loyal live following. So Winwood can keep his Grammys — we'll give Mason our higher love.

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