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Playing Around: John-Alex Mason 

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Shuga's, 702 S. Cascade Ave., 328-1412 Thursday, July 5, 6:30 p.m. No cover.

Front Range Barbeque, 2330 W. Colorado Ave., 632-2596 Sunday, July 8, 5 p.m. No cover. Although John-Alex Mason grew up in the Broadmoor area, he began his career in Germany, playing music on the streets.

"In some ways, people in Europe are much more enthusiastic about the music," says Mason. "I think it's because they are so interested in our culture."

Though he was only in Germany for six months, street performing inspired him to devote himself to music full-time. When he returned to the States, Mason pursued his career by booking gigs wherever he could.

In 2005, Mason went back to Europe. Because he played shows during every night of a three-month tour through the Netherlands, he improved rapidly. That experience to say nothing of opening shows for B.B. King and John Mayall has done little to squelch his passion for what he calls the deep country blues.

"Music has become such a huge part of my life," he explains. "It's what I think about on an hour-to-hour basis."

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