Published Aug 17, 2016Courtney Marie Andrews has been releasing intimate and heartfelt folk music for most of the decade. She's collaborated with such renowned and established acts as Damien Jurado and Jimmy Eat World, and has earned praise for her songwriting from Ryan Adams and many others. Producing it herself and nurturing some of the songs for at least a year, her latest album, Honest Life, is her most refined work to date, a clear representation of a skilled storyteller in her prime.
From the outset, Andrews asserts that "this ain't no rookie dreaming," and couldn't be more right. Her songs feel lived in and familiar, subtly imbued with slide guitar and a slight country warble in her voice. "How Quickly Your Heart Mends" is an incredibly raw tale of heartbreak written with self-deprecating grace, and "Let The Good One Go" admits desperation and loneliness while still finding the strength to move on. She taps into relatable emotions by examining her own, and gives hope through her contagious perseverance.
Andrews grasps her songs tightly. Her lyrics are considered and heartfelt, her vocal performances are clean and pure and the songs are produced and arranged with nuance and precision (the organ on "Irene" and the strings on "Only in My Mind" are nice touches).
While this all adds up to a very enjoyable listen, it would also be nice to hear her let loose with the same intensity with which she maintains control. One wonders if this might've been a make-or-break album for her, but having "made it" with aplomb, Andrews should feel more comfortable challenging convention on her next outing. (Mama Bird Recording Co.)