Mason Williams

Mason WilliamsMason WilliamsOn Friday, July 18, Mason Williams visited us in the studio for a live session on Open Tunings. I had been somewhat aware of his contributions to the world of music, both with the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on television in the late 60's and his radio hit, "Classical Gas".

What I wasn't aware of is the range of his career, and deeper contributions to popular culture, and it's evolution.

John Doan & Mason WilliamsJohn Doan & Mason Williams
Not only did Mason Williams write songs for the Smothers, he was head writer for the show for a period when the staff writers included Rob Reiner, Steve Martin and John Hartford.

Steve Martin went on to change comedy as we know it.

Mason Williams on Open TuningsMason Williams on Open Tunings

John Hartford took music to an alternative edge of acoustic collaborations that didn't previously exist, and Rob Reiner directed the "The Princess Bride" and "Spinal Tap" among other cult favorites. He also was known as Meathead on TV.

That is some group of writers.
Harp GuitarHarp Guitar

Mr. Williams has written books, poems, songs, scripts. "Classical Gas" is the most played instrumental of all time. Over six million radio plays. He also spent time as head writer for Saturday Night Live, among other television work.

John DoanJohn Doan

Let's just say, I was nearly speechless.

Thanks to John Haliniak for the photos of the session.

Open Tunings can be heard each weekday morning, 9 to noon on 88.5 WRUR fm, or stream live at WRUR.ORG.