Carson McHone – sweet music, bitter experiences, artful songwriting

Ross McGibbon January 28, 2020 0
Carson  McHone – sweet music, bitter experiences, artful songwriting

Live at The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 28th January, 2020

It can be disheartening to play support but Carson McHone earned maximum focus tonight from a quiet and attentive audience, waiting for The Felice Brothers. It helps that she’s been slowly earning her stripes with a few tours to the UK already. Still, it’s not an easy thing to do, armed only with an acoustic guitar and a microphone and playing singer/songwriter material in a country style.

A seasoned performer already, Carson opens with a couple of her grabbiest songs. ‘How About Being Young, How About Being Old’ opens the set with it’s catchy chorus lyric, perceptive thoughts and gentle melody. “It’s never too early to teach your kids about…. metaphor”, she says, introducing ‘I Need Drugs’. It’s not a new comparison – love and drugs – but she makes it fresh. Hawks Don’t Share is another strong one – the title pulled from Hemingway and the subject from some bitter experience.

Whilst supporting, why not drop in a couple of new ones? She pulls out the harmonica for a spikey / bitter love song before talking about American folk heroes, The Carter Family, as she works a new tale into an old song. Images are apposite and strong, lyrics are perceptive and the melodies effective. With a band behind her for added colour, this would fly.

End Of The World is another metaphor for love and is the penultimate song before the brief half-hour set is over. It’s passed quickly and the audience hasn’t become restive; it’s a win for the solo acoustic support act thanks to confidence in her own ability and skill in selling songs to a new audience. Do look out for McHone when she comes back with a band.

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