Al Mason, who was a founding member of Moondog Medicine Show, passed away tragically in the spring of 2010. We all love and miss him very much. This is a very small selection of quotes from people who's lives he touched. Doug Eichelberger - Through my life Ive searched to find a trusting friend like you, it took too long to realize the friend I had in you, now your gone, you slipped away, forever's way too long while I sit here in this vacant shell and try to write this song. And no one can see it like I do it's true, I'm so Empty without you......... One of the first songs I ever wrote with Al, he wrote the music, he was the best!
The First Moondog Medicine Show promo shot. He's the guy with the top hat and big pistol.
Keith Sylvester - Al was a musician's musician - his ability to evoke emotion with an instrument was uncanny and anyone who had ever heard him play would agree. He was an absolute genius in the recording studio. His talent was truly world-class and I could never understand why he would want to play in a band with me. I couldn't touch his abilities with the proverbial ten-foot pole but he never made me feel that way. He was the most kind-hearted, lovable, humble, quirky, funny guy I've ever known. He ALWAYS had a smile and he always had a positive outlook even when I was being my normally moody, bitchy self cursing about some trivial B.S. on the phone, in the car on the way to or from rehearsal or wherever. He was a friend, musician, mentor and all around good guy. It is a privilege to have known him.
Zach Zeger - R.I.P. Alan, you were a huge inspiration to me. You will never be forgotten.
Jackie Biancolli - I took violin lessons from Alan for 8 years. I never really considered my lessons “work.” It was always more of a fun time. He really inspired me to find the fun in music. It always amazed me that he could play any instrument with a string. He had such an amazing talent and he was the nicest, most genuine man. Alan, we lost you much too soon. I will miss you.
Scott Blake - Most of us area musicians have had the obligatory drunk person come up to each of us at the end of a fair night of playing whatever instrument we consider to be the extension of our being and tell us how great that they think we were. But AL... Al was the one we all thought to ourselves... "Now there is true, absolute talent."
Candy Gray Mason - Alan was a great musician and a wonderful man. I was married to him in our twenties, he would play the piano for hours for me. I traveled on the road with him in his Cracked Actor days. I loved him very much and can see he had many people who saw him as I did a great musician and great man.
Todd Matthew Stotler - I loved working with Al in the studio, such a sweet talented guy, I will miss him so much!
Mark Deike - When I first starting taking lessons from Al everyone at the store kept referring to him as Big Al. I couldn't figure that out at first because he didn't seem that big to me. It didn't take long to realize what a huge person Al was. He had enormous talent and an enormous heart. We're gonna miss ya Big Al.
Chad Davis - I heard a charlie daniels album and I thought it would be cool to learn an instrument. When I went to my first guitar lesson, and heard Al play, I knew I wanted to commit my life to getting to be half as good as he was, and is. I been playing for 20+ years and still dont think I reached that halfway point. Al was the b...iggest influential musician in my life. Not only was he a great musician, he was also a person with great character, honesty (cuz if I didn't practice, Al knew it and he let me know that he knew that I didnt practice, lol)! Greatest wishes goes out to the Mason family, our hearts are deeply saddened by this loss. Til we jam again my friend, may peace be with you always and forever! God Bless! On a side note, I remember when Al invited me and some of my friends whom he never met, ever, but still invited me and my buds over to sit in on a Dead Lester practice one time. I believe it was somewhere over in Berkley Springs, WV, but dont quote me on it. Anyway, I remember my buds and I were going to stand bout 2 t...o 3 feet in front of his mike, cuz, after all, we wanted to see the best damn guitar player on the east coast up close in action, plus the pracitce space was bout the size of my room, and trust me, TINY! Anyway, before they started jammin I remember Al sayin,"you guys might not want to stand in front of me cuz when I sing backups, I tend to spit alot". I still get a kick out of that and wanted to share it with you. And yes, they freakin rocked!
Sarah Miller Barrett - Alan was probably the single most important musical influence on my life. He understood that it was more important to keep me interested in continuing my musical education than to force me to stick to a certain learning book. He knew that there are different ways to learn for different people. His easy-going approach and kind demeanor always made me feel free to make mistakes (the quickest way to learn). I will miss him terribly!
Linda Carpenter - Alan taught here (CWOM) for almost 22 years. From the first day, we knew we had a gem. His love affair with music was a beautiful thing to witness. I would listen to him practice the piano in total awe of his amazing talent. He was so encouraging and gentle with his students. Never said a harsh word or a putdown. ... He truly lived a life of sharing and caring and doing something he loved. We spent time together outside of the store and his genuine loving spirit was always present. We loved him and will miss him forever. I know he is not in pain anymore. He is probably encouraging someone in heaven to go out there and do what you love. He did and we are all blessed to have seen and heard it. Linda
Annie Seger - Alan Mason...This page is not large enough for me to share my thoughts and feelings about Alan. He made me the musician I am today. He was the best music teacher I ever had. And what a friend to have! He never judged..only encouraged, we laughed and cried about everything and I would never have been able to write the songs I did or be able to say that I have my own CD of original music if it hadn't have been for Alan. He was the fabric of my musical career. How many people's lives he touched and improved is undeterminable, but I know it is many. He taught me...and many others how to "feel" the music, from the heart....the way it should be.
Al in a Dead Lester/Dementia 13 recording session at Oz Studios in Baltimore, MD circa 1991
Doug Eichelberger - Through my life Ive searched to find a trusting friend like you, it took too long to realize the friend I had in you, now your gone, you slipped away, forever's way too long while I sit here in this vacant shell and try to write this song. And no one can see it like I do it's true, I'm so Empty without you.........
One of the first songs I ever wrote with Al, he wrote the music, he was the best!
Matt Alvord - I started taking lessons from Al at CWOM when I was about 16 or so ,I wanted to be this great guitar player and a friend of mine told me to get lessons from Al. When I went in to take lessons Al would always just have the most positive attitude about everything and just made you feel comfortable even when you're a nerv...ous beginning guitarist. I started jamming with a bunch of guys and talking to Al about it and asking his advice about being in a band and writing your own material. He would listen to what we were writing and help me come up with ideas for leads or for whatever I was stuck on and would tell me to come to dead lester practices and even told me to come down to the studio with him which I was very appreciative off. Even after I stopped lessons I would see him at CWOM or somewhere else and we would just start talking like it was yesterday and would always ask me how the music was going . He was truly an amazing musician with a great spirit Nancy Shulley - Al was one of the most endearing people that I've ever met. He was sweet and funny and all the things that made you just love him. He could always crack you up with a look or a face. I remember back in the Dead Lester days we were over at his house. He was digging around in the closet and came up holding this wild look...in hairy thing - and that grin of his. It was a short wig that he'd wear whenever he went to tune a piano in someone's house. It was awful! All i can say is that it was brown. He stuffed his hair up under this wig (we were hysterical by this time) and pretended he was there to tune a piano. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. I still laugh when I think about it. That was Al, so easy to be around. I will truly miss you, Al. Kimberly Jean Branch-Greenawalt - Al left a beauty mark on all those who ever met him. His gift from God was his beautiful music and Al's gift back to God was to deliver and that he definitely did. We love you and will miss your beautiful golden heart Al...Forever Jim & Kimi
John Daugherty - I started playing with Al and the guys from Dead Lester in Nov. of 1991 and though i had been playing out for 10 years at that time,I learned so much about how to handle stuff that didn't go as planned.He never let things rattle him and always figured there was another way to do it.He could play the most tasteful chops... and then start sweeping and blow you away.Then sit down at a Steinway and take it to another level yet.We could go on forever about his talent but he was the best i ever knew and i was lucky to have played with him.Al,you were a great friend and not once do i pick up that beat up Les Paul of mine that i don't think of you.Rest in peace my brother. John
Magda Monteschio Halgash - I had gotten to know Al well over the last 2 years. In that short time we became very close friends. He was teaching me the Mandolin, even though he had just begun playing it himself. We were getting ready to record a CD of music that I wrote, which I never thought was good enough, but Al constantly encouraged me. ...He just heard a song once and then added piano and "Presto!" it was REALLY a song! He put the magic in the music. I will always remember his wonderful sense of humor, including his hilarious Monkey. I'm sure he is teaching the angels some "cheats" on their instruments! I will miss him very much.
Jeffrey G Key - I am saddened to lose Al. I had not seen him in years but was hoping to do do this summer. I will be in Greencastle for the first week in August and was going to refer a piano tuning to him as a gift to a friend of mine. I met Al when we were both teenagers at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. He was a violin major... and piano minor and a guitar enthusiast as well. I loved to hear him play and had the opportunity to work with him from around 1985 through 1988 or so. We toured the eastern seaboard together in the band, "Cracked Actor". Al will be greatly missed. He was so easy going. - Jeff Key
Nancy Shulley - Al was one of the most endearing people that I've ever met. He was sweet and funny and all the things that made you just love him. He could always crack you up with a look or a face. I remember back in the Dead Lester days we were over at his house. He was digging around in the closet and came up holding this wild look...in hairy thing - and that grin of his. It was a short wig that he'd wear whenever he went to tune a piano in someone's house. It was awful! All i can say is that it was brown. He stuffed his hair up under this wig (we were hysterical by this time) and pretended he was there to tune a piano. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. I still laugh when I think about it. That was Al, so easy to be around. I will truly miss you, Al.
Kimberly Jean Branch-Greenawalt - Al left a beauty mark on all those who ever met him. His gift from God was his beautiful music and Al's gift back to God was to deliver and that he definitely did. We love you and will miss your beautiful golden heart Al...Forever Jim & Kimi