Dave Mason Credit: Renee Silverman

For a couple years now I’ve been trying to propagate “divorce rock” as a term for a very specific strain of soft, folky 70s pop that would probably fit under the larger banner of “adult contemporary” without qualifying as “yacht rock” (which is overused anyway). Divorce rock songs are not about the average puppy-love breakup; these world-weary tunes often ruminate about how time is a cruel mistress, how people change and grow apart, or how you can truly gave your all to a relationship and still see it fail. The artistic pinnacle of this microgenre would be Richard and Linda Thompson’s 1982 filing-divorce-papers-as-we-write-this masterpiece, Shoot Out the Lights, while at its more accessible, populist end you could find Chicago’s 1976 ballad “If You Leave Me Now” and Air Supply’s 1983 hit “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” Firmly in the middle would be Jim Croce’s “Operator” (whose pointed lyrics include “She’s living in LA with my best old ex-friend Ray / A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated”) and the late-70s tunes of Dave Mason, who hit AM gold in 1977 with the amicable divorce anthem “We Just Disagree.” Divorce rock seemed like an unlikely path for a musician known for his work with often misunderstood UK psychedelic groove-fusion trailblazers Traffic, for whom he wrote beloved singles such as 1967’s “Hole in My Shoe” and 1968’s “Feelin’ Alright” (which became an even bigger smash for Joe Cocker in 1969). He also appears on one of the greatest rock tracks of all time, providing 12-string guitar on Jimi Hendrix’s immortal take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” All the aforementioned tunes are mentioned in the press materials for Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright” tour, but he also played on classics such as George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and the Stones’ Beggars Banquet, and with any luck some of those collaborators’ songs will leak into his set. He’ll also play material that has inspired his work, and along with killer tunes, he’s bound to have good stories—so pass up this classic-rock legend at your own peril. And for those whose relationships are on the brink of splitting up, the show may provide a good segue into discussing the terms.   v