Album Review: Honest Life by Courtney Marie Andrews
Great, Based on 3 Critics
Paste Magazine - 87 Based on rating 8.7/10
Plenty of vocalists can sing with power, and some can sing with convincing subtlety. There aren’t very many who can do both in the same breath. Emmylou Harris can, and PJ Harvey, too, in a different way. Neko Case is among the very few who has developed the ability as her career has progressed ….
Courtney 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.
Entranced by the myth of the open road, Arizona songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews once spent four days crossing America on a Greyhound bus and her sixth album, which is the first to bring her to wide attention, skews heavily towards country tradition. Andrews has the observant eye of the bartender she once was, pinpointing the little horrors that make romantic disasters stick in the mind: on How Quickly Your Heart Mends she’s crying in a bar toilet while “the jukebox is playing a sad song for all the ugly Americans”; on Only in My Mind she acknowledges that her daydream of domesticity in a house in “a small forest grove” is a chimera. So the album goes: over and above the intimacy of the sparse acoustic landscapes and her unaffected vocals – Joni Mitchell and Alela Diane are clear influences – the delicate lyrical barbs make Honest Life one to hear.