The Mastersons

Good Luck Charm

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The second album from husband-and-wife alt-country duo the Mastersons unwittingly makes a good case for the institution of marriage -- if you harmonize as well with someone as Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore do on 2014's Good Luck Charm, it's hard not to imagine that you were meant to be together, and if not every song on this set is a joyous proclamation of love, their performances are as much about great personal chemistry as two voices that blend well. It doesn't hurt that Masterson and Whitmore pick as well as they sing; he shows subtle strength on a variety of guitars, and she's a whiz on the fiddle, and here they anchor a tight, capable little studio band that can go from the elegiac "I Found You" to the strutting "Closer to You" without missing a step. The fact Masterson's voice bears a close resemblance to Mark Olson certainly plays to their stylistic similarities to alt-country icons the Jayhawks, but while the Jayhawks could never quite shake the Minnesota chill in their songs, it's no surprise that Masterson and Whitmore are originally from Texas, as the bigger, warmer horizons are audible in these tracks even if the Mastersons call New York home these days. As strong as the songs and the performances are (and "It's Not Like Me" and "Cautionary Tale" are very good songs), it's those vocals that elevate Good Luck Charm into something out of the ordinary, and the Mastersons are smart enough to keep them front and center throughout. The family that sings together makes a pretty good album, or at least that's the case with Good Luck Charm.

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