Many vocalists lose their speaking accents as soon as they begin to sing. Steve Mason is an exception. The songwriter’s soft Scottish singsong imbues his fourth solo album, About the Light, with endearing bonhomie. Mason has refreshed his sound with a brass section and gospel-influenced female backing vocalists. Rhythm and blues cadences rise and fall like carousel horses on “Stars Around My Heart.” During “No Clue,” the vigorous volley of the verses is followed by the gentle drop shot of a crooning chorus. These melodies accent the soulfulness in Mason’s voice.
Netflix’s Out of Many, One chronicles the lives of people living in the United States who are about to take the test to become citizens. The film switches back and forth between the subjects’ stories and their studies about American history.
Nature of belief
The movie The Apparition, available on DVD and Blu-ray, delves into questions of belief and faith. It’s the tale of a journalist who investigates the story of a young woman, Anna (Galatéa Bellugi), who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer praised Bellugi’s performance, writing, “We look into Anna’s brimming eyes and … are at a loss to comprehend who she really is. Bellugi never gives the show away. We are left guessing until near the end.” This movie is not rated.
Walk the walk
Guitarist Chris Shiflett, in a podcast titled Walking the Floor with Chris Shiflett, chats with his peers including Dawn Landes, Rhett Miller, and Cindy Wilson, about how they got started in music and their influences. There’s occasional foul language. It’s at www.walkingthefloor.com.
Take social networking back to basics with Slowly, an app that riffs on the pen pal experience. When you sign up, you create an avatar and are matched with someone based on language and common interests. Letters are typed and “mailed” on the phone but, to simulate postal travel, the farther away your pen pal is, the longer it takes before the letter arrives. The app is free for iOS and Android.