“Don't it make you sad/ Rhetoricin' politicians make me mad/ and I can't take it, take it any longer.” - Good Luck Charm - Christ Masterson-Eleanor Whitmore.

When The Mastersons first toured Australia they supported seven times wed Texas raised and latter day New Yorker Steve Earle.

They have played in his band since 2011 so it's reasonable to assume some of Steve's strident social comment songs may have influenced his fellow Texan born sidekicks.

But there's only a small reference to the politics of fear in their rollicking entrée title track for a duo who also call New York home.

It's definitely not a comment on singing Texan crime novelist Kinky Friedman who lost his Gubernatorial challenge as an independent in 2006 and ran unsuccessfully for Lone Star state Agricultural Commissioner this year.

One of the Kinkster's platforms, endorsed by fellow singing actor Shotgun Willie Nelson, was going green by developing the herb superb as a cash crop.

Needless to say other states, like Colorado where the couple met in 2005, have beaten Texas in commercial cultivation stakes.

It's clear The Mastersons are best known for their multi-instrumental prowess and sweet harmonies - a vibrant vehicle for their radio friendly music.

So who are The Mastersons ?

Well Houston born vocalist Chris Masterson plays mando and high strung guitars and many other axes on their second album produced by Jim Scott at PLYRZ studios in Santa Clarita, California.

He borrowed a little humour from fellow late lamented Houstonian by calling his solo album The Late Great Chris Masterson.

And his singing spouse Eleanor Whitmore struts her stuff on electric and acoustic tenor guitars and violin string arrangements and cut a solo disc Eleanor's Airplanes .

Now the Whitmore name will be well known to long time Nu Country FM listeners in our radio era form 1994-2001.

Denton born Eleanor is one of two daughters of Delta Airlines pilot Alex who flew from Terlingua, Texas to the rescue of our radio station after it burned down on June 26 in 2000 with a crate of CDS.

Alex and singing spouse Marti - a former opera diva - perform in a duo in Terlingua.

Eleanor began playing fiddle at four and studied with legendary Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble.

She and singer-songwriter sister Bonnie played in the family band Daddy & The Divas with Captain Alex - revered songwriter and pilot.

Alex performed Never Gonna Get Texas Out of You live on High In The Saddle on PBS-FM and Elwood Health Food store on his whirlwind 2000 Aussie visit.

He has released six solo albums including Bar Farcist and Tale By The World (WMP Records).

Alex also produced Bonnie's album Picking up Pieces that made the ballot for the 2005 Grammys in eight categories.


“I found a letter in my dresser from a couple of years back/ it was written by my dad, he nearly broke his back/ he spent his life working at a job he hated/ it could have left him bitter but he never got jaded.” - Closer To You - Chris Masterson-Steve Poltz-Eleanor Whitmore.

It's quite clear the duo are not singing about Captain Alex in Closer To You - a tune they penned with Canadian born frequent Australian tourist Steve Poltz.

Poltz made his name with The Rugburns after moving to California from Nova Scotia and enjoying commercial success as a writer with Jewel who recently split with Arizona nine times world rodeo champion Ty Murray after 16 years or marriage.

The Mastersons enjoyed successful careers as supporting musicians before marrying in 2009.

Eleanor sang harmony and played mandolin and fiddle on albums by Shooter Jennings - son of late outlaw icon Waylon – and sang on discs by artists diverse as Texan Kelly Willis and Tennessean troubadour Will Hoge.

They played on each other's solo records in 2009 and joined Earle's touring band, The Dukes and Duchesses , in 2011.

In 2012 they became The Mastersons and recorded Birds Fly South in Texas with Grammy winning engineer Steve Chrisensen, bassist George Reiff and drummer Falcon Valdez.

“It's weird working with someone you love,” Masterson says.

“The highs are higher, and the lows are lower. The way Eleanor and I treat each other, you'd never treat someone else on a session or gig. There's a candour there that's insane sometimes, and we both believe in what we're doing so much and neither is willing to back down.”

The duo, now based in Brooklyn, wrote most of this album while on tour with Earle and singing spouse Allison Moorer.

Their romantic bliss is reflected in triumphant tales I Found You, Easy by Your Side and resurrected romance in If I Wanted To .


“So you self-medicate/ who knows better than yourself/ now you've tempted fate/ might as well have grabbed a gun.” - Cautionary Tale - Chris Masterson-Eleanor Whitmore.

And, like all good writers, they reach beyond their comfort zone to source self-explanatory Cautionary Tale and the shattered dreams in Nobody Knows .

Uniform also enables the duo to rise above indecision and follow dreams while they exploit a weather metaphor to extol true love in It's Not Like Me .

Anywhere But Here - one of Masterson's rare solo compositions - explores wanderlust before boomeranging to a mutual desire to share the moment.

Although this may seem like a joyous journey the disc strikes a reality raft in the regret of wasted energy and emotions in the thought provoking finale Time Is Tender .

The Mastersons charm, laced by Greg Leisz pedal steel, grows on repeated listening as the rain tumbles down in July.

Chris, a teen guitar prodigy, played blues in Houston clubs from the age of 13 and later strutted his stuff for Son Volt , fellow Texan tourist Jack Ingram, Bobby Bare Jr. and Wayne The Train Hancock.

Impressive - just ask Earle for a reference.

"Chris is the best guitar player that's ever been in this band and Eleanor's a better musician than any of us,” says the seasoned singer and some-time novelist and playwright.

“Eleanor on her own has a beautiful voice, far better than mine,” Masterson says.

“But when we come together, something bigger happens.”

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