Sound Advice: Carson McHone with Harlot (July 5)

Austin singer/songwriter Carson McHone brings some torch and twang to the Southgate House Revival.

click to enlarge Carson McHone - Photo: Courtney Pittman
Photo: Courtney Pittman
Carson McHone
Country singer/songwriter Carson McHone began drawing hometown attention with her pure, traditional sound at a relatively young age. And being from a big and supportive music scene like Austin, Texas, it didn’t take long for her gifts to garner attention on a bigger scale.

Just around the time she was legally able to drink, McHone released a self-titled EP. With a mix of rooted Country, melodic Folk and the Americana sound those elements suggest, the 2013 debut showed a poised songwriter more than ready for the next level in her burgeoning career, and those who would know — her fellow Austin musicians, both contemporary and veteran — were among the first to take notice. Celebrated Indie Folk Rock musician Charlie Mars had her join him at a large outdoor show in the city in 2014, which was followed by her appearance on local Roots music icon Ray Wylie Hubbard’s single “Chick Singer Badass Rockin’ ” and a duet with creative Americana artist Shakey Graves during the taping of his episode of Austin City Limits (she also toured with Shakey Graves and, later, Blues Rock guitar hero Gary Clark Jr.). 

McHone capitalized on and brightened the growing spotlight by releasing her first full-length album, 2015’s focused and inspired Goodluck Man, which cleared up any doubt about whether she was the latest star-in-waiting in the tradition-steeped, Honky Tonk-kissed branch of AltCountry, right next to artists like Margo Pierce and Nikki Lane. It’s a movement that isn’t so much “Country music for people who don’t like Country music,” but rather “Country music for people who didn’t know they liked Country music.” McHone’s rich, old-soul sound might best be described by a Spotify playlist she was featured on — “Torch & Twang,” which showcases “slow-crafted gems” that “take music forward by looking back” and includes tracks by Valerie June, Brent Cobb, Margaret Glaspy, Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Bingham and dozens of other like-minded performers.

McHone’s current tour comes as she’s reportedly in the midst of working on her anticipated new album in Nashville with producer Mike McCarthy, a Cincinnati native and longtime Austin engineer who has worked on recordings by a diverse cross section of artists, including …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Craig Finn, Spoon, Heartless Bastards, Patty Griffin and Lee Ann Womack.

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