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LIVE: Courtney Marie Andrews – Pocklington Arts Centre, 19/06/2022

It is a perfect summer’s evening. Lying just off the main A1079 trunk road that connects the cities of York and Hull and described most affectionately tonight by Courtney Marie Andrews as “a quaint little storybook town” is Pocklington. It is some three-and-a-half years since the acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet, and musician from Phoenix, Arizona was last here. On that occasion she was performing solo, and it was the first date on that tour after illness had earlier robbed her of her voice. At that time there was an unquestionable fragility about Andrews. That sense of vulnerability was highlighted in the couple of songs she showcased that night from her forthcoming album. That album, Old Flowers, would be released some 18 months later and was widely described as a break-up record, capturing as it did all the heartache of the dissolution of her then nine year personal relationship.

Whilst Courtney Marie Andrews opens tonight’s set with one of those very songs – ‘It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault’ – much else has changed for her in the interim. She is backed by her band this time round and when viewed from the back row of this delightful little auditorium, with her newly shorn hair Andrews bears a passing resemblance to Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. And much like Jodie Foster’s character in that 1991 film, Courtney Marie Andrews impresses with her resilience and determination to succeed and move on.

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Courtney Marie Andrews is now clearly in a much better emotional place. Laughing and joking with the three guys in her band she tells us that she has been busy “writing a bunch of new songs”. These songs are destined for her eighth studio album, Loose Future, which is due out in October. She plays several of them this evening and in marked contrast to the material on Old Flowers, they are bright, breezy, taste of summer and are replete with love, reflecting her emergence from a long period of darkness.

This positive transformation in Courtney Marie Andrews is no more apparent than when towards the end of this truly excellent concert she performs a towering ‘Carnival Dream’. When she last played this song here in December 2018 and asked the question “Will I ever let love in again?” you sensed that time may never come for Andrews. But now it clearly has. During her first encore, a song “written on a strange island in the Northeast”, she exhales sheer joy through the opening line “falling in love at the end of the world”. A concluding blast of ‘Satellite’ – the lead single to be taken from Loose Future – confirms that Courtney Marie Andrews is well and truly back.

Photos: Simon Godley

A few more photos from this show are HERE

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