Lion in the Mane’s Jon Masters’ Diamond in the Rough Changed His Life

Paper States' "Be Alone" made Masters a better songwriter


Lion in the Mane’s Jon Masters tells BlastEcho about his favorite song you’ve never heard:

“Be Alone” by Paper States

I got into Paper States  a few years back when we were touring back home through Pennsylvania and I was blown away. We had been on the road for a little over a month at that point, my voice was shredded, I looked like a mess and I wasn’t sure that our own band would even head out and tour again. It was one of the first couple tours we had done and we were broke, tired, not getting along and I think it’s because we were just tired of playing small rooms and getting on mixed bills with country bands, playing in front of no one. I thought I had lost faith in music completely until I met Sam Smith. Not that Sam Smith. This Sam Smith was a young, smiley drummer from a local band that you’d most likely dismiss as being “bad” just because his ultra-chipper attitude and general optimism.

You’d have thought he was being sarcastic when he said he liked our band and wanted to swap records. We did it, though, and I remember skipping the first song on their EP because you can’t love something else if you don’t love yourself. But the second song came on and made me love music, Sam’s band, myself and my bandmates in the three minutes that it melted in my ear drums. I remember listening to it the whole ride from our friends Susan and Michael’s house in the back woods of Pennsylvania to our show in New Jersey that night. I remember not even really caring much about the show, but getting back home and trying to write music with the same passion and
enthusiasm that these kids had.

To me, lyrics are 99.9% the most important thing in songs and the other .01% has to be great music. Their singer Ryan [Stack] seemed to have been in a pivotal point in his life when he wrote these songs. When I run into him, I always ask him about what his songs meant to him or what this line or song means to me. It’s got everything I love about all of my favorite genres as well and his voice is just so full of grit and passion.

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