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Courtney Marie Andrews

A distinctive, emotionally candid singer and songwriter, Courtney Marie Andrews first earned a reputation in the indie rock community in the early 2010s before finding critical acclaim as she evolved into a figure of the Americana/contemporary folk scene. An evocative vocalist whose performances reflect straightforward honesty with bittersweet beauty, Andrews is as gifted as a songwriter, creating melodies that are a fine match for the aspiration and heartaches of her lyrics. She had plenty of touring and recording under her belt when she first found her footing as an artist with 2013's On My Page, but 2016's Honest Life became her breakthrough release, a set of songs that saw her baring her soul to impressive effect. 2018's May Your Kindness Remain drew inspiration from the stories of ordinary people in difficult times, and 2022's Loose Future was written and recorded during a soul-searching sojourn on the East Coast. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 9, 1990, Courtney Marie Andrews began penning her own lyrics in her early teens. At age 15, she started performing her songs in public, and it wasn't long before she decided she wanted music to be a career rather than a hobby. She was 16 when she left home and set out on her first tour, making her way up and down the West Coast, where she performed and busked on boardwalks, sidewalks, and shopping centers, and in bars and restaurants. Andrews next set out for the East Coast, and 2008 saw the release of her debut album, an independent effort titled Urban Myths. It was issued by the River Jones label, who brought out a second album from Andrews, Painter's Hands and a Seventh Son, in 2009. That same year, after briefly returning to Arizona, she crossed paths with Jimmy Adkins of the pop/punk band Jimmy Eat World. Adkins liked her voice, and he invited her to sing backing vocals on their 2010 album Invented. She also tagged along with the group for their 2010-2011 tour, playing keyboards and adding backing vocals. During downtime from the road, the prolific songwriter completed a third full-length album, 2010's No One's Slate Is Clean. In 2011, Andrews relocated to Seattle, where she struck up a friendship with singer and songwriter Damien Jurado. He admired her work, and hired her to join his road band, while she also regularly opened shows for him. During this period, she released her fourth studio LP, 2013's On My Page, while 2014's Leuven Letters was an EP cut live in the studio, with her road band joined by a handful of studio musicians. Andrews spent several months in Belgium, guesting on a 2014 album by singer and songwriter Milow, Silver Linings. There, she found herself overwhelmed by a combination of homesickness and heartache as she struggled with the aftermath of a romantic breakup. The songs she wrote in this period would form the basis of 2016's Honest Life, released by Mama Bird Records, which earned rave reviews from music writers in the United States and England, and received extensive independent radio airplay. Despite her new success, she still found time to help out her old friends Jimmy Eat World, lending vocal support on their 2016 album Integrity Blues. Andrews signed with Fat Possum in 2017, and the label released May Your Kindness Remain in co-operation with Mama Bird the following year. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Mark Howard (who had previously worked with Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan), the album addressed the theme of empathy in a time of sociopolitical turmoil, and boasted some of Andrews' most soulful performances to date. The record was another smash with critics, and rose to the top of the U.K. Americana chart and topped out at number five on the U.K. Independent Albums chart. In the United States, May Your Kindness Remain peaked at number 14 on the Americana/Folk albums chart, and was named one of the 25 best Country/Americana albums of the year by Rolling Stone. Her next LP, 2020's Old Flowers, was another set of songs informed by love gone wrong, and in addition to more positive reviews, it gave Andrews her first Grammy nomination, for Best Americana Album. In 2020, she also lent her support to another celebrated singer and songwriter by contributing backing vocals to Kathleen Edwards' Total Freedom, her first album in eight years. After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Andrews to take time off from touring for the first time in years, she retreated to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she cleared her mind by hiking and gave herself the assignment of writing one new song each day. (It also gave her the time to finish writing her first book, a collection of poems called Old Monarch that was published in April 2021.) Andrews next set up shop at a residential studio in Upstate New York, recruiting Sam Evian to produce the sessions. The result, a bittersweet collection of personal songs titled Loose Future, was released by Fat Possum in October 2022.
© Mark Deming & Rob Wacey /TiVo
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