Kindness is a quality that features strongly in Courtney Marie Andrews’ life. It is there in the title of her sixth full-length album. Released back in March, May Your Kindness Remain is riding high in many of those end-of-year lists. Kindness is there in her songs, often shining through the darkness of romantic despair. And it was there again following her triumphant show at the Union Chapel in London a few days ago. The 28 year old singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona had lost her voice, but the care and consideration of friends in the capital helped her to recover in time for tonight’s performance.
Courtney Marie Andrews is in the small East Riding of Yorkshire market town of Pocklington this evening as part of an extensive solo tour of the United Kingdom, one that will take her as far north as the Shetland Islands before ending a week on Monday at Bristol’s Colston Hall. Playing without her usual backing band, Andrews informs us that she wanted to be able to tell her stories and stripped of their normal arrangements her songs undoubtedly have the opportunity to breathe more freely, even in this rarefied air.
Courtney Marie Andrews locates these songs – 15 in total and many of which she wouldn’t ordinarily perform – in their wider narrative context. We get songs from Arizona (‘Woman of Many Colors’) and the road to Seattle (‘Sea Town’). We also get songs from when she was growing up in Phoenix (‘Border’) and her direct experiences of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the disgraced Arizona lawman who racially profiled Latinos and who, perhaps not surprisingly, is a very close ally of her home country’s current Commander-in-Chief. Andrews’ acute sense of empathy with others and her strong fight against injustice is also present on ‘Irene’, a song written for her then touring buddy who had disclosed to Andrews that she was gay.
We also get a couple of new songs, ‘Ships in the Night’ and ‘It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault’. Both are performed on the piano and each one demonstrates the growing confidence and sophistication in Courtney Marie Andrews’ songwriting. In terms of lyrical, melodic and emotional content this newer material evidences an even greater compositional range and depth. Taking requests from the capacity crowd, Andrews prepares for her journey up to Perth by bidding farewell to Pocklington with an absolutely stunning reading of the title song from ‘May Your Kindness Remain’. On this type of form, and for Courtney Marie Andrews’ part, you suspect it is going to do so for quite some time yet.
Photos: Simon Godley