Carson McHone

Carousel (Nine Mile Records)

Texas Platters

For fans following Carson McHone since 2015 debut LP Goodluck Man, the native honky-tonker's long-awaited sophmore album is somewhat of an inevitable letdown – not in quality but simply in offering little new material after three years. Then again, Carousel isn't necessarily intended for local listeners, but rather as a national introduction spotlighting a redo of the debut material, now with Mike McCarthy guiding production. Eight of the 11 tracks are retreads, and although McCarthy provides a fuller and more polished sound, he largely follows the arrangements of the original recordings and lets McHone's stellar songwriting and vocals remain the primary focus, falling somewhere between Emmylou Harris' sighing control and Patty Griffin's power. The exceptional "How 'Bout It" stands out, now given a piano backing and slowed to settle into the aching want, while elsewhere steel and pedal wash delicately in support. Among the new songs, "Sad" leads the platter with a waltz that winds into a measured upbeat dance floor turn and surprise electric guitar kick. Live staples "Drugs" and "Spider Song" shine, the former slowly spinning into a corkscrew swell and the latter closing Carousel with a harmonium wheeze. Given the promise of McHone's young talent, fans can be thankful at least that she's being given the rare time to develop her songwriting for the long-haul, even if that means simply another go-round right now.

***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 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 Carson McHone
Dram Shop Girl
Dram Shop Girl
Look out, Shakey Graves. Your tourmate and fellow Austin native Carson McHone is making country inroads.

Chase Hoffberger, July 31, 2015

More Music Reviews
Saturday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Ruston Kelly
Dying Star (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 12, 2018

Saturday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Trampled by Turtles
Life Is Good on the Open Road (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 12, 2018

More by Doug Freeman
Medeski’s Mad Skillet
Medeski’s Mad Skillet
UtopiaFest, Sat. November 3, 10pm

Nov. 2, 2018

Valerie June
Valerie June
UtopiaFest, Sat. November 3, 8pm

Nov. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Carson McHone

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