This week, we call into Nashville to speak to one of the preeminent and most prolific singer-songwriters of our time, Courtney Marie Andrews.
Born in Arizona, Andrews first started singing at Phoenix-area karaoke bars with her mom before setting out to see the country in Greyhound busses as a teenager, finding a place in bands like Jimmy Eat World with her signature high-aching voice and talent on guitar and piano. Writing in fiery spurts (she mentions on the taping that 30 new songs emerged just last month), Andrews has put out eight records and counting, beginning with 2008’s Urban Myths and culminating in 2022’s lush and cautiously hopeful Loose Future. “These Are The Good Old Days” finds her trying to be present in a world of relentless distraction and hidden pain — and while the chord changes and harmonies harken back to 1950s girl group vibes, there is always a searching, aching energy roiling underneath.
If you feel like you missed out seeing touchstone genre-defying singers like Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris in their 1970s roots-pop prime, fear not: it can be argued that Andrews is leading the newest wave of honey-voiced performers who just happen to be writing the most honest, heart-stopping work in the expanding Americana universe. Many first heard her with the acclaimed, gorgeously direct Honest Life in 2016 which helped develop her following, especially in Europe, and the mournful and cathartic Old Flowers which earned her a 2020 Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album.
We all go through painful breakups and have to learn how to process the fallout. But what Andrews can do with the thorny moments most of us would want to forget, may be her superpower. “I’m not used to feeling good,” Courtney Marie Andrews sings with a weary smile on “Change My Mind” towards the finale of Loose Future. And yet, as she penned many of these timeless tunes in a small cabin on Cape Cod during the height of the lockdowns, sometimes realizing that you can be happy after all is that big first step that can get your future to start opening up.
Photo credit: Alexa Viscius