The Mastersons

I first crossed paths with The Mastersons at SxSW 2011 at The San Jose. As I sat in the sun drinking micheladas, they cranked out the twang with boy/girl harmonies that made my heart swell. I plugged that name into the ol’ smart phone and promised that I would look them up when I got home. I never did, but thankfully our paths crossed again in Austin.

We visited the New West Records showcase at SXSW 2012 to catch one of our favorite new bands, Buxton. Due to a gap in our schedule, I met up with Oz about an hour before Buxton’s set and about 5 minutes into our conversation, The Mastersons hit the stage. One song in and I looked at Oz and asked “Didn’t we catch these guys last year? And didn’t we think they were awesome?”

Yep, we did and thankfully their debut followed soon after SxSW so that we didn’t forget this year. Fronted by the married couple of Chris Masterson & Eleanor Whitmore, The Mastersons put their expert musicianship and experience playing with Son Volt and Steve Earle to good use in crafting a gorgeous album of Americana in the vein of The Everybodyfields or The Jayhawks. Like The Everybodyfields, The Mastersons have a quality female and male vocalist that trade off the vocal responsibilities. And like The Everybodyfields, The Mastersons shine when the two vocals blend together.

There are a number of great tunes but the title track takes the cake for me. Its an acoustic number with Whitmore on lead vocals and Masterson lending the support. The song is about the displaced Texans missing their home state of Texas. They played this live in Austin and it stopped the audience in their tracks.

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