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Courtney Marie Andrews Strikes Gold

m-19

Courtney Marie Andrews OLD FLOWERS. Fat Possum Records/Loose

OLD FLOWERS is about heartbreak. There are a million records and songs about that, but I did not lie when writing these songs. This album is about loving and caring for the person you know you can’t be with. It’s about being afraid to be vulnerable after you’ve been hurt. It’s about a woman who is alone, but okay with that, if it means truth. This was my truth this year - my nine-year relationship ended and I’m a woman alone in the world, but happy to know herself.” - Courtney Marie Andrews

Before we got to the studio, we agreed to prioritize making this record as cathartic and minimal as possible - focusing on Courtney’s voice and her intention behind the songs. Because of this, the record is all about performance. I believe a great recording is the chemistry between everything during basics and the ability to feel something happening instead of obsessing over the perfect take. Courtney embraced this approach and we ended up with a raw, natural and human record.” - Andrew Sarlo (producer)

m-37Image By Sam Stenson

The first thing that hits you with this album is the stunning sound quality. Opener ‘Burlap String’ reveals this dramatically with a drum sequence that is clarity and sharpness personified. Andrew’s voice is also as clear as day with each heartbreaking lyric hitting home supported by sighing lap steel and a melody that guarantees close attention. Next comes ‘Guilty’ which reverts to piano as the key instrument (but still with drums ruling the rhythmic waves in the background). This slow-moving song is the perfect vehicle for Andrews’ voice which again is reproduced with optimum clarity. The lyrics tell a sad and sincere story: “Guilty, oh I’m guilty, I’m so in love with you, I can’t eat, no I can’t sleep, there’s nothing in this world I can do…” The melody again cements the song to one’s brain. Superb.

‘If I Told’ is darker and conversational as she sings to her previous lover. It seems to me that with each song melodies grow even stronger and the emotional vibe deeper. The vocal also seems to become more expressive. Piano features again with one of my favourites on the record. ‘Together Or Alone’ is a beautiful slice of mild country with the vocal travelling the note and emotional range. Orchestral strings enter in the most subtle and judicial way to add drama to this superb song. Andrews keeps her word when she explained the intent with this record: “I hope that you find what it is you’re looking for/ I’m just glad to love you and not to ask for more…” This has to be one of my songs of the year.

‘Carnival Dream’ travels at glacial pace with a clarity that compels one to listen to every breath and word. ‘Old Flowers’ offers another striking instrumental arrangement in a bitter-sweet song of intense emotional depth that reveals that this was a tempestuous and possibly even violent relationship. Fabulous! ‘Break The Spell’ offers whispering instruments which force Andrews’ voice to the fore in a contemplative song that pleads with her lover to “Please, break the spell, please break the spell.”  ‘It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault’ takes on a rockier vibe in a song that that could so easily be a radio single. It’s a hook-laden tune with a vocal that climbs a few octaves.

‘How To Get Hurt’ again features wandering piano notes with brushed drums close by. Andrews has a powerful and expressive voice that is capable of travelling the scale and compels one to listen. This song is firmly down the country road and I can imagine it blaring out over USA country radio channels. The final song, ‘Ships In The Night’ concludes the record with a  firm ‘goodbye’ and good wishes to her previous lover. There’s a degree of optimism here: “The person I used to be seems so far away…” This record scores on every count and is undoubtadly one of the year’s most sincere, moving and beautiful recordings. Essential.

5/5

m-48 Image By Sam Stenson

Listen Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttdwUr0JXe8
Biography Here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtney_Marie_Andrews
www.courtneymarieandrews.com

Tour

16/06/20 Birmingham Hare & Hounds United Kingdom
17/06/20 Pocklington, Yorkshire Arts Centre United Kingdom
18/06/20 London OMEARA United Kingdom
19/06/20 - 21/06/20 Kent Black Deer Festival United Kingdom
21/06/20 Nottingham Metronome United Kingdom
22/06/20 Oxford Wesley Memorial Church United Kingdom


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