Smoky songwriter Mason Reed rides West to East Village.

Early Riser: Mason Reed started penning lyrics when he was 5 years old.

This Tuesday, Mason Reed steers his GMC Sierra pick-up towards East Village Coffee Lounge for the first West Coast date on a “never-ending tour” to promote his new album, You Can’t Come Back from Heaven. The album, recorded in five days, spans haunting tracks of acoustic guitar overlaid with Reed’s voice, which is gritty, nostalgic, cynical and smoky all at once.

Reed says he owes a lot of the album’s sound to co-producer Steve Holroyd, who did the mastering for Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and David Lee Roth, among others.

“I finally found the right key,” Reed says. “When you hear a song for the first time, in the first three seconds it’s kind of subliminal, but you can tell if you’re going to like it.”

The album’s downcast romantic sound is cemented by wry lyrics like those in “Six Shallow Women,” inspired by the solitary nomadic lifestyle Reed lives on the road. “I always hurt the ones I love the most/I’ll be haunted all my life, cause I can’t make friends with ghosts/I know I chose this and it’s how its supposed to be/ Only the devil knows what will become of me.”

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The album’s melancholy vibe contrasts sharply with friendly, witty Reed, a guy who swears he smiles more than he cries. “Sometimes people say to make happier songs, but when you get the e-mail from the guy who says, ‘My wife just left me and I stayed up all night listening to your music,’ it feels really good.”

Reed, an Arizona native, says the album and the recently kicked-off tour are a turning point for him. “I’ve spent 10 years of my life trying to fit in to what you’re supposed to do – buy a house, et cetera – but for some reason the universe keeps smacking me in the face, and I’ve realized that the one thing I’ve always had with me are these songs in my head.”

MASON REED plays 8pm Tuesday, Mar. 16 at East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey. No cover. 373-5601.

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