CARSON MCHONE BAND
May 29 @ 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm£10 – £12
Years before Rolling Stone was praising Carson McHone’s rule-breaking roots music, the Austin, Texas native played weeknights in local bars like The White Horse, keeping dancers dancing and drinkers drinking. With her 21st birthday still in the distance, McHone entertained late-night crowds bearing witness to the good times and bad decisions that fill a busy bar. It was a rare, raw education. She pumped her music full of details from an early adulthood spent in the company of the heartbroken and high-toleranced. In 2015, McHone released Goodluck Man, which earned her a cover story in The Austin Chronicle as well as the support of local icons like Ray Wylie Hubbard, who said she “writes songs like her life depends on it.” Then she hit the road, touring the U.S. (and beyond) with acts like Shakey Graves, Gary Clark, Jr., and Joe Pug. Her writing style widened and her music evolved.
Dark, driving and evocative, her latest album Carousel captures this period of remarkable growth, shining a light not only on McHone’s honky-tonk roots, but also on her development as a modern, alt-country storyteller. It features newly written songs and updated versions of tracks that first appeared on Goodluck Man, pushing traditional sounds and themes into a modern context.
Carousel is a latter-day record unconcerned with flying the flag of old-school country, inspired by diverse sources like Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and American novelist Thomas Wolfe. It wears its eclecticism proudly, with McHone singing each song in a voice that is worldly-wise and woozily gorgeous.
McHone explains that Carousel embraces where she’s come from and establishes where her musical interests are leading. “The art I’m making would be lacking if I were to stick to a specific genre. Carousel is more modern, which is where my interests lie these days, and where my writing is taking me. At the end of the day, it has to be the song that dictates.”
Growing up, McHone rode her horse bareback along the side streets of south Austin, weaving through traffic and empty parking lots to find space to “open up”. For any motorist driving past, she must’ve been a wonderfully unusual sight to behold: a messy-haired young woman riding down the street, bridging the country and the city, the past and the present, the Wild West and modern Austin.
McHone’s 2019 release builds a similar bridge. Purposeful, pointed, and poignant, Carousel is a compelling ride.
Tickets £10 in advance or £12 on the door.