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.

***

  • 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  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
The Infinites
The Infinites
The Infinites (Record Review)

Rachel Rascoe, May 10, 2019

Texas Platters
George Strait
Honky Tonk Time Machine (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, May 3, 2019

More by Doug Freeman
The 12 People You Meet at Sam’s Town Point, Austin’s Real-Life Roadhouse
The 12 People You Meet at Sam’s Town Point, Austin’s Real-Life Roadhouse
You’d never know the South Austin honky-tonk is there, but wait 'til you meet its cast of characters

April 26, 2019

Texas Platters
George Ensle
Home (Record Review)

April 19, 2019

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
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

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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