Carson McHone, JUNIOR, Shelby Ann

Carson McHone included on Rolling Stone's 2018 Top 40 Country Albums

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.

“There was a time when I wanted to champion traditional country,” says McHone, “mostly because I wasn’t hearing it in what was being called ‘country’. I think a lot of roots influenced artists feel the need to defend tradition in this way. Today though, I want to do more with the form, push myself past where I understand it to be.”

Dark, driving and evocative, 2018's Carousel captures this period of remarkable growth, shining a light not only on McHone's honky-tonk roots, but 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.

Playing an instrumental role in the process was Mike McCarthy, the now Nashville based, award-winning producer behind albums for Spoon, Patty Griffin, and Heartless Bastards. McCarthy is well versed in country music but his work is definitely not defined by the genre, which made him the perfect candidate for McHone’s new record.

Carousel is a latter-day record inspired by diverse sources like Dylan, the Velvet Underground, and American novelist Thomas Wolfe, unconcerned with flying the flag of old-school country. It wears its eclecticism proudly, with McHone singing each song in a voice that is worldly-wise and woozily gorgeous.

At the junction of sparse folk-pop and country you’ll find Junior, helmed by two distinct and complementary songwriters, Caroline Keys and Hermina Jean, from Missoula, MT. Jenny Lynn, Missoula's favorite vocalist-baker-violin player, makes everything sweeter. Junior is a compact three-piece, with each member taking on multiple instruments.

The group originally began singing together in drag as “The Cuckaroos,” the backing vocal section for Cross Country, Missoula’s annual Country Drag Revue. In the service of lampooning gendered stereotypes, the group developed strong working relationships and connected as artists. Listeners might have heard members of JUNIOR play in groups including: Butter, Stellarondo, Burlesco, Broken Valley Roadshow, Shahs, Hermina Jean, The Cigarette Girls, Caroline Keys, Worst Feelings, Travis Sehorn and the Pebble Light, The Best Westerns, and Patsy Grime.

Each member of JUNIOR brings a quiver of instrumental skills to the group. Audiences can expect layered vocal arrangements, awkward jokes, earnest lyrics, and playful arrangements. Junior has been compared to Sibylle Baier, Karen Dalton, The Roches.

Shelby Ann

Shelby Ann is a singer-songwriter from Napa, CA. Practically from the day she was born, her father exposed her to all forms of rock & roll and other types of popular music, and she was quickly inspired to sing and play music herself.

Shelby began singing and took voice lessons at an early age, and at 12 was drawn to the guitar. After honing her skills throughout her youth, 16 year old Shelby began to write and perform her own music. Teaming up with a schoolmate, Shelby formed her first band, the duo Mirror Image. With Mirror Image, Shelby achieved regional acclaim as a captivating singer and performer. Their self-titled Ep was played in heavy rotation on local radio.

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