Country Emerging: Courtney Marie Andrews

There’s no more authentic voice in modern country music than Arizona’s Courtney Marie Andrews. By the time she left Phoenix, the soul singing star had been playing guitar and writing songs since she was a teenager. Breaking through as a member of US rockers Jimmy Eat World, then as a touring musician with Damien Jurado, Andrews released her first solo album in 2010 and followed it up with 2013’s ‘On My Page’, capturing the attention of much-loved US indie label Fat Possum.

It was with 2016’s coming of age record ‘Honest Life’, however, that the writer found her wings and gained international acclaim for songs such as the sublime ‘How Quickly Your Heart Mends’ and the melodic roots pop masterclass that is ‘Rookie Dreaming’. With meandering melodies and lyrics as sharp as tacks, Andrews toured the record around the globe in the two years that followed and picked up The Bluegrass Situation’s ‘Album of the Year’ award. Rolling Stone also named ‘Honest Life’ as one of its best country albums of 2016 and, with the help of UK Americana pioneers Loose Records in Europe, the singer/songwriter was set to swim the mainstream.

Fourth album proper ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ was recorded with high expectations ahead of its release in 2018 and its country soul laments, bawdy broadsides and beautiful ballads met with approval wherever anyone was listening. “People are constantly chasing the bigger life,” she said about the album. “A lot of people are poor in America and because of those unattainable goals, they’re also mentally unstable, sad, depressed or unfulfilled. That’s sort of the theme of the record: coming to terms with depression and the reality of the world we’re living in.” The songs carried this weight with a lightness of touch that confirmed Andrews’ ability and the tour that followed was her biggest and most successful yet.

Festival slots, five star reviews and big name fans (Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow) followed, before the Americana Music Association nominated her for the ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ award as ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ lodged itself in all of the end-of-year best-of lists. Then, in early 2020, the first music from fifth album ‘Old Flowers’ emerged in the form of the delicate acoustic lilt ‘If I Told’ and expectations across the Americana world skyrocketed again…


Behind The Song – ‘Two Cold Nights In Buffalo’ (from ‘May Your Kindness Remain’, 2018)

“A snowy prison out on Main Street, heaters hang from the cells; A bum searches for shelter, so cold he dreams of hell; Is that American dream dying? I hear whispers of each ghost; Of the wealthy man who once dined in downtown Buffalo.” If Bruce Springsteen had written that, Rolling Stone would have declared their search for ‘Man of the Year’ over and the mainstream American music industry would be collapsing under the weight of its own plaudits. A highlight of 2018’s ‘May Your Kindness Remain’, Courtney Marie Andrews’ chugging tale of “those yellow city lights” is a masterclass in clarity and concision. The people that I’ve met on the road these past few years got me thinking about my childhood, the people around me that I’ve known and the stories that come from my family,” the songwriter has said. She managed to will that world to appear in this song’s three and a half minutes.