Album review: Courtney Marie Andrews

Courtney Marie Andrews - Old Flowers (Loose)

Courtney Marie Andrews. Photo:- Alexa Viscius

Courtney Marie Andrews. Photo:- Alexa Viscius

ON HER last album, May Your Kindness Remain, Courtney Marie Andrews gave voice to the values of the people from the US heartlands and rustbelt who did not vote for Trump.

For, Old Flowers, her fifth album, the Country/Americana singer-songwriter takes an interior journey as she looks back on, and wades through, the emotional wreckage of a failed relationship.

The break-up album often seems to be a rite of passage for artists, and it has delivered a number of masterpieces - Dylan's Blood On The Tracks being, perhaps, the most famous. Indeed there is a faint echo of 'Tangled Up In Blue' on Andrews' 'Someone Else's Fault'.

Old Flowers moves through recollection both nostalgic and melancholy ('Burlap String' ) to once happy memories now too painful ('How To Get Hurt' ). There is also the dark night of the soul and despair - the arresting 'Carnival Dream' has the starkness and melodrama of On The Beach era Neil Young.

'Andrews' voice recalls Emmylou Harris, but ultimately is its own instrument, findiong the right intensity and restraint to deliver these songs with the emotional charge they need'

Yet the generosity of spirit which characterised May Your Kindness Remain imbues the whole of Old Flowers. Instead for bitterness and recrimination there are declarations of appreciation ("I am thankful for the time we shared" - 'Guilty' ), while the understated brilliance of the minimalist closing track, 'Ships In The Night' ends with the words: "I'm sending you my love and nothing more."

Andrews embodies country at its best - heartfelt, raw, but uplifting. The music here is stripped down, suiting the intimacy and confessional nature of these songs. Throughout, Andrews' voice - powerful, majestic, heartbroken, resilient, recalling Emmylou Harris, but ultimately its own instrument - finds the right intensity and restraint to deliver these songs with the emotional charge they need.

And as far as I know, in case you are wondering, we're not related.


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