Courtney Marie Andrews - Honest Life (Loose Music)

Courtney Marie Andrews – Honest Life (Loose Music)

You may think Courtney Marie Andrews is a new name, but you would be wrong, for Honest Life is her sixth album. That’s right, sixth. To be fair, to the world at large, she probably IS a newcomer, but aside from her solo career, she is no stranger to the world of hit records and critical success anyway. No, for the past ten years or so, the 26 year old has been very much in demand as a session musician, having contributed handsomely to works by the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Damien Jurado amongst others. Restricted to one musical genre she most definitely is not. Honest Life illustrates the Americana side of her not inconsiderable talents to perfection.

It’s become something of a cliché to compare practically any young woman with a guitar to Joni Mitchell, but from the opening strains of ‘Rookie Dreaming‘, which gets things started here, it is clear that the Canadian has been something of a blueprint. If such a comparison means that Andrews performs beautifully composed, exquisitely arranged folk pop tunes – and she does – then all well and good.

It would be churlish and downright ignorant to suggest that Mitchell is the only reference that can be identified as a probably influence, however. ‘Irene‘, for instance, even has a touch of the Alabama Shakes about it, with its affecting reprise of “Sometimes good people draw troublesome things“. It’s one of the highlights here in a strong album which seems destined to see Courtney Marie Andrews playing to packed arenas around the world in no time. And this would be apt, for Honest Life is, ostensibly, a document of her life on the road. When she was in Belgium for four months, she started “getting homesick for America and the comfort of family and friends. That’s where I wrote the first songs for Honest Life. It was a giant hurdle in my life, my first true growing pains as a woman.”

Perhaps the most obvious comparison in terms of modern contemporaries is the impeccable Swedish duo First Aid Kit. Granted, the Soderberg sisters tend to write lyrics of a far darker nature, but there IS a kinship there if you listen carefully enough, especially on the excellent ‘15 Highway Lines‘. Many other analogies have been made of course, the most accurate of those probably being Emmylou Harris, but I’d like to throw Crystal Gayle into the mix too. Whatever you hear in Honest Life though, it doesn’t really matter; the fact remains that it is full of emotional depth and extremely easy on the ear.

Honest Life is released on 20th January 2017 through Loose Music.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.