Review: Carson McHone – Goodluck Man

music_feature2Goodluck Man, the debut album from Austin, Texas singer/songwriter Carson McHone, might as well have been cut live. Packed with attitude and vigor, the minimal production on Goodluck Man lets McHone’s raw talent beam.

A student of classic honky-tonk, McHone and her band chug through an equal mix of original floor stompers and shoulder waltzes. The first half of Goodluck Man consisting of songs like the timeless-sounding “GTDB” and the in-the-moment arrangements of “Poet” and standout “Ain’t You Lucky (I Love Being Lonely)”; the latter a mix of ballads that highlights McHone’s voice — one that embodies both the rough vocal edges of Wanda Jackson and Melba Montgomery and vulnerability of Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris.

Holding court from her barstool, McHone’s moods dictate her vocal variance. From the solemn ache of “Dram Shop Girl” and earnest wanting of “How ‘Bout It” to the honest crashing of “Gentle With My Mind”, the frailty of Goodluck Man‘s slower moments rise like cream.

Having recorded with the likes of Ray Wylie Hubbard and Shinyribs, as well as duetting with Shaky Graves on Austin City Limits, McHone’s star is already bright. A perfect storm of songwriter and vocalist, McHone’s debut is traditional to the boot straps. A more polished first outing would have done nothing to differentiate her from the crowded Texas music scene; strip away the pedal steel, chicken picking and fiddle on Goodluck Man and you are left with an assured voice that belongs exactly where it resides.

Watch the video for “Bouquet” below and purchase Goodluck Man via Good Horse Records.

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