Gorilla, Manchester 29/01/20
Country music is on the rise in the UK and despite not getting a huge amount of radio play over here, Country stars from across the pond regularly play at sold out venues, with little, if any, fanfare. Tonight in Manchester, 100 yards apart, Sturgill Simpson is at the O2 Ritz, whilst at Gorilla, the Felice Brothers are playing a sold-out gig as part of a European tour and the support is rising star, Carson Mchone.
Armed with just her guitar and harmonica, the Austin native works through a short but impactful set consisting of material from her last album Carousel, and a promised new album. She opens with the delicate How Bout It, which highlights the tenderness in Carson’s voice. There is a confidence without cockiness to McHone’s performance. Throughout, the young Texan is engaging, as she gives us an insight into what each song is about and her mindset when writing it.
In many ways McHone is the perfect package: a voice that is vulnerable throughout, but strong as and when required. She’s great on the guitar, and has some beautifully haunting songs including Drugs and The End of The World.
What struck me from tonight’s mini showcase is just how much of an accomplished story-teller she is: she delivers her material with passion and a great deal of heart. This was her second time in Manchester but I’m sure it won’t be the last, and next time in a headlining spot.