Raised from adolescence by a family of cat-trainers and acrobats, it's no surprise that the circus figures so prominently into the music of Kevin Mason Hull. Many have noted the big-top grandeur and funambulistic deftness with which he weaves his lyrical fables, but it is the darker side to his origin and upbringing which lend melancholy to his fantastical melodies. "Anyone who doesn't believe in jackalopes hasn't lived the life I've lived," quoth M. Hull in a recent interview. Eyes downcast and pensive, he seemed hesitant as he gently twirled his goblet of chocolate milk between dexterous fingertips-holding always by the stem, not the bowl, so as not to inadvertently warm the beverage-but with a decisive sip, as if bolstered by liquid courage, he plunged fearlessly into a swashbuckling tale of madness, deeds both unforgiven and unforgivable, housecats by the boatload, mischievous autumn spirits, happy haunts, and unearthly perils. With a background as stirring and sundry as his own, it's no surprise that M. Mason Hull has caught the attention of music and adventure lovers of all ages, from the furthest reaches of the neighborhood. Attendees of a recent performance described him as such things as "my friend Kevin," and "my son." One admirer in particular expounded that his compositions were "not as weird as I expected, actually." With unbridled praise such as this, there is no question that Kevin Mason Hull will achieve great success, and rise far above his humble beginnings. -Holli Van Musken.