Carson McHone Record Review

Goodluck Man (Good Horse)

Carson McHone Record Review

Carson McHone's debut full-length arrives heavy with expectations, the native songwriter having established herself at the forefront of a generation of country-courting artists coalesced around the White Horse's roots scene. Boasting preemptive credits including duetting with Shakey Graves for his Austin City Limits taping and rocking backup as Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Chick Singer, Badass Rockin'," McHone's bow highlights what her peers have recognized in her talent, if still early in its development. Goodluck Man builds the buzz of her nascent career, heavy on upbeat honky-tonk, awash in pedal steel, and stunning by its end with closing pair "How 'Bout It" and the title cut. McHone's vocal control impresses throughout, not in range but in emotion, which drips with longing and stares in defiance via a balance of vulnerability and strength. The opening trifecta of "Poet," "Maybe They're Just Really Good Friends," and "Ain't You Lucky (I Love Being Lonely)" aims for the dance floor amid disillusion, the latter capturing the duality between slow-pulling verses and a double-time chorus. "Dram Shop Girl" reveals something deeper, however, echoing Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith in the soft, wistful portrait that McHone paints. The production struggles to capture the nuance of McHone's voice, especially on fiddle ballad "Bouquet" and a powerful Neko Case blast opening "Gentle With My Mind." Yet the gentle and wanting "How 'Bout It" and the title track showcase exceptional songwriting against sparse guitar. Carson McHone's Goodluck Man thus serves more as proper career launch than highly anticipated capstone, brimming with promise and natural talent.


The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

  • More of the Story

  • Dram Shop Girl

    Native daughter Carson McHone comes a courtin'

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Faster Than Sound: Musical Top 10s of 2021
Musical Top 10s of 2021
One writer's favorite Austin-sourced albums, songs, and such from the last 12 months

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 17, 2021

Review: Heartless Bastards <i>A Beautiful Life</i>
Heartless Bastards A Beautiful Life
A Beautiful Life (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Sept. 17, 2021

More by Doug Freeman
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Silvana Estrada, Rochelle & the Sidewinders, Loteria, Chili Cold Blood, Shemekia Copeland, and more live shows

Jan. 28, 2022

What We're Listening To Right Now
What We're Listening To Right Now
Kydd Jones, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Rose Sinclair, Carson McHone, and Berkshire Hounds

Jan. 21, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle