By Christina Calloway
CMI staff writer
Andy Mason’s music has been heard by locals in eastern New Mexico over the past decade. From staples such as the Peanut Valley Festival and Cannon Appreciation Day to the local libraries and impromptu performances at the Yam Theatre, Mason has provided a sound that the community has become accustomed to.
“My son loves the, “Everybody Likes Pizza” CD,” said Portales City Councilor Matt Hunton, who has seen Mason’s music live several times.
Well, rock band Motley Crue isn’t the only group preparing to perform a farewell show. Tonight at the Yam, Mason will be performing with good friend and fellow musician Don Thomas in a farewell concert before moving to Mexico.
The show begins at 6 p.m. and is free for the public.
Mason has been in the community for 22 years. He said his move to Mexico stems from his desire to immerse himself into the Spanish language and Mexican culture, but he said Portales will always have a special place in his heart.
“I’ll miss the people, all of our friends, everyone in town,” Mason said. “They’re good people.”
Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry said Mason, more times than not, has performed for charity or free and has been a reliable performer for the many happenings of Portales.
“It’s pretty incredible that he’s been able to do so much for the community,” Terry said. “We’ve kind of gotten used to being able to call Andy when we needed entertainment.”
Mason and Thomas represented Portales in a New Mexico tourism video singing a state jingle. Mason also recorded a song written by local bank owner David Stone, in which the proceeds from the download sales of the song go to United Way of Eastern New Mexico.
“That’s Andy for you, he’s always looking for ways to give back,” Terry said.
Hunton said Mason’s charity is one of his favorite memories of Mason. When Mason performed for the Rotary Club, Hunton said he performed a song he wrote for the Smile Train, a charity dedicated to providing money for children’s cleft palate surgeries.
Thomas said tonight’s show won’t be much different from what the two have been doing the past 10 years. The pair met when Mason used to substitute teach at Portales Junior High School.
Thomas, a local pastor, said they consider themselves the “two-man acoustic jam.”
“We really enjoy harmonizing,” said Thomas of their music.
Tonight Thomas said they’ll be bringing a few new songs but they’ll mostly be doing classic rock tunes from the past few decades.
Thomas said he’ll miss the friendship and the harmony with Mason.
“He is one of my dearest friends in the world,” Thomas said. “Our rehearsal times are a joke. We perform a song, then we spend 30 minutes joking and telling stories.”
Mason said he’ll visit Portales from time to time after he leaves, especially to do the library shows for children.
“I love playing around here, it’s a natural fit,” Mason said. “It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t come back and play shows here.”