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. It could have done with an upbeat song or two to puncture the introspection, but that’s just being picky.
Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life review – candid country daydreaming
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian