Carson McHone, a songwriter from Austin, Texas, is releasing her upcoming album, Carousel on 25th January via Loose Records, bringing us more honky-tonk, what she was brought up with. Her new album Carousel was recorded in Nashville with producer, Mike McCarthy, who also recorded Spoon, Heartless Bastards and Patty Griffin, which makes sense of the polished sound, production values high.
Darker and more evocative than a conventional honky-tonk album, Carousel highlights McHone’s progression to more of a modern, alt-country storyteller, pushing traditional sounds and themes into a contemporary context. Inspired by Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and American novelist Thomas Wolfe, there are many layers to her music, lyrics steeped in darkness to a background of honky-tonk and bluesy guitar. Eclectic, with a variety of head-nods there is enough going on with McHone’s new album to keep it an interesting listen.
With her first two tracks titled Sad and Drugs this could easily be mistaken for a Rock n Roll album but its far from it. Her velvety vocals sit amidst the country sounds of her band, offering more of an Americana/Alt-Country sound, despite the lyrics. I guess it could be said she is updating the honky-tonk genre, bringing it up to our present time. Songs like Good Time Daddy and the more poignant Dram Shop Girl, add a sense of pathos to this album, which seems up to it’s knees in dark feeling and insecurity. Maybe They’re Just Really Good Friends is about infidelity and trying to make excuses for it, to a backdrop of upbeat guitar and drums, but the standout track within this record is How ‘Bout It, an aspirational yet angry song stripped down to just McHone’s vocals and piano. The reflective, poignant thread that seeps through the album peaks here, when we have no choice but to listen to Carson McHone’s raw lyrics, concluding with “how ’bout being young, being old.”
Combining clever contemporary lyrics and the honky-tonk roots, Carson McHone’s new album is worth the listen, as the music lifts you up from her darkness. Genre-defying, she has recorded a stunning album that sits more aptly in our present climate.
Carousel comes out on 25th January, via Loose Records.