My girlfriend and I went out with the simple intention of getting some work done. We walked into the North End Taphouse, ordered our drinks, and searched for two seats in the shade. A few minutes later, a man walked up on stage in a Bruce Springsteen-like outfit. He stood on stage in his white t-shirt, ripped jeans, and red bandana in his back left pocket. He slung his Ovation guitar over his shoulder, and began to speak to the crowd.
Mason Clark moved from Indiana two months ago. For five years he practiced law, but moved to Florida to teach privacy law at Stetson University. His wife, Tiffany Kim, is also a lawyer, who served three tours in the military, mostly stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
Mason’s Musical Life
Clark began his musical life as a bluegrass fiddler, eventually picking up guitar around the age of 12. He played in various bands through high school and college, but his solo career began in Gulfport. Despite how much he enjoys performing, his true passion lies in songwriting.
“If I ever move, it would be for song writing,” said Clark. “I never had aspirations to be a rock star.”
Clark uses his song writing talent to connect people with the experiences of others. That is why he was performing at the North End Taphouse on Nov. 11 during their Veterans Day celebration. From 2-6 p.m. a portion of the proceeds from the bar were donated to Heaven on Earth for Veterans, Inc. The last song he performed before taking a break is a song he wrote with his friend, who is a veteran.
“No matter who started the war, troops go and fight,” said Clark, before the song.
He uses his song writing ability as an opportunity to discuss the various issues that veterans face.
“The thing that gets lost in the politics of all of this is that kids sign up to go and be on the front lines,” said Clark. “We don’t take care of these kids and vets when they come back. Even if people spend $500 in these few hours, those are supplies we can buy for veterans.”
His wife is particularly proud of his efforts.
“It’s amazing that he started playing again,” said Kim. “He isn’t a veteran, but he is super talented and uses that to capture these experiences in his lyrics, and craft beautiful stories.”
After his short break, Clark got up and continued to play a mix of covers and originals, taking a few requests from the audience. Throughout the performance, he made sure to encourage the crowd to go and buy more food and beer from the bar.
“What is better than this. You get to come and drink and listen to music and celebrate a good cause,” said Clark.