• Alyssa Piperis

Music Spotlight #1: Courtney Marie Andrews | Raw Storytelling a la Joni Mitchell.

PREFACE: I’m really excited to be doing my very first Music Spotlight post about a fellow millennial I just discovered that I can’t get enough of. Her latest album (the only one I’ve listened to so far, but not for long) made me feel the moment I pressed play on it. And that’s a pretty big deal for me. I usually need to sit through a song a handful of times and let it grow on me (or not), but that was not the case here. From the first song on the album, “Rookie Dreaming,” all the way to the last one, “Only in My Mind,” I was wholeheartedly in it and along for the ride. My connection to this artist, her voice, and her lyrics was instant. It’s not every day that you discover a song, let alone an entire album, that has you hooked on every note and lyric. So I’m very happy to be hooked. WHO/WHAT?: 26-year-old Courtney Marie Andrews and her latest album, Honest Life. You guys… This woman. This album.

The Woman- Andrews has been touring since she was 16 years old, has sung with Jimmy Eat World and Wilco (among others), and she’s released six albums since 2008. She’s remained consistent but pretty under the radar, which seems to have given her the opportunity to reflect on where she stands and what really matters in the grand scheme of things. She has described her musical style as “a little folk, a little country, a little [Americana], a little roots, and a little singer/songwriter” (source: http://millennialmagazine.com/courtney-marie-andrews-talks-the-honest-life/). The Album- Honest Life, which was released on August 19, is a brilliant mix of raw, soulful, heartbreaking, uplifting, and relatable. Andrews takes listeners through the depths of her emotions as she looks back on moments of love and loss, loneliness, and inauthenticity, but looks inward and forward with a deep yearning to live freely and truthfully. Oh, how I can relate. HOW I DISCOVERED HER: I discovered Andrews thanks to Rolling Stone’s “40 Best Country Albums of 2016” list (link below!) that was just released on December 7. If you’re a country music fan, this is a fun list to read through, and it gives you a ton of bands and artists to have a field day checking out. If you’re not a country music fan, this list probably means nothing to you. But it should. Especially with artists like Andrews on it. SOUNDS LIKE: Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Carole King, Margo Price, Judy Collins, Neko Case

  • “Joni Mitchell is the logical comparison to the soft howl and deep-Canyon vibrato of her vocals, but there are echoes of the Indigo Girls and even Ryan Adams' Gold too since her songs are anchored by smart lyricism that seems more like an intimate conversation than a fiery confessional.” - Marissa R. Moss, Rolling Stone

Source: http://www.rollingstone.com/country/lists/40-best-country-albums-of-2016-w452950

  • “Beyond her songwriting and production, Andrews’ classic voice–one part Judy Collins, one part Neko Case–contains a deep yearning, a reaching for something that may or may not have ever truly been, something that may yet still come to pass, a hope for something larger than ourselves: an ideal.” - Millennial Magazine

Source: http://millennialmagazine.com/courtney-marie-andrews-talks-the-honest-life/.

* If you're unfamiliar with Judy Collins and Neko Case, like I was, click the links right below and check 'em out!

Judy Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W8_BKlFKM8

Neko Case

on NPR Tiny Desk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwRcPEg1MyE

on Letterman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FhVbyeWFvo

WHY I’M A FAN (+ REAL TALK): Aside from the fact that Andrews and I share a middle name (“Marie” middle namers unite!), I simply fell in love with her voice and lyrics immediately. I’ve come to love country/folk music over the years, and great lyrics take music to another level for me. I relate on such a deep level to the stories, feelings, experiences, and nostalgia that Andrews shares, and her voice is equal parts wistful and timeless. Eric Danton put it beautifully in his Paste Magazine piece: “Andrews sings with the knowing air of someone who has seen a lot of life, and the quiet optimism of someone who knows there’s so much more yet to see.” I just love that. (Source: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/09/courtney-marie-andrews-honest-life-review.html) To dive deeper… I’m newly single and currently in the midst of a transitional time in my life. And this transitional time feels almost tangibly different than ones of the past. I feel like there are certain instances in life that force epiphanies on us. Whether it’s a breakup, loss of a friend or family member, or near-death experience, some things give us a push more than others. I, personally, have had my fair share of difficult life experiences, but this latest breakup of mine has given me the push I need like nothing else has in a while. I feel this intense inner need to get out of my comfort zone and dig into myself (metaphorically, of course) to find what I really want and need to be doing with my life and my time. It’s frighteningly easy to get lost in the day-to-day of life and work and trying to make a living, and I refuse to fall into that. I moved out to Los Angeles alone at 18, knowing I was choosing a less secure path than the people I grew up with and went to school with. Four years later, I'm still proud of that choice. I’d rather struggle a little more than many of my peers in order to pursue what makes me happy and feeds my soul. I can't imagine living for the weekend and working a 9-to-5 that doesn't fulfill me. That doesn't mean I don't find myself stuck in the monotony of a routine or unsure of where to direct my creative energy. But, since my breakup, I’ve been making a conscious effort to break out of that as much as possible. I force myself to get out and do or sit down and create. I’m constantly working on finding the balance between the mindsets of “time will tell” and “live for now.” I know I need a sense of stability and money to pay rent, but I also yearn to travel and fall in love and meet new people who challenge me and finally gain the courage to get my nose pierced (okay, that last once isn’t as grandiose as the others). Half the time I feel like a wholesome goody two-shoes who doesn’t need the wild partying years that all my older friends tell me I need, and half the time I feel like I need to be a little more carefree and say yes to more adventure and risk. There’s a balance to strive for. Sometimes we stay close to one side of the spectrum, and other times we tilt the scales. That’s what life is about. Getting back to Honest Life... I’m proud to have this understanding--that life is one giant teacher and balancing act-- and be able to enjoy art (in this case, music) from others who have the same understanding and are learning from life just as I am. Andrews’s album provides me with comfort and stories I can relate to, and her voice is hauntingly beautiful enough to elevate the entire listening experience to something unique and unmatched.

Aaaand, to top it all off, Andrews said in an interview with Millennial Magazine, “My greatest hope is that my music reaches every kind of person. I try and write filter free, and I hope that comes across to people.” With the title of this very blog of mine being The Filterlyss Life, I can’t help but love that quote! Cheers to authenticity, living an “honest life,” and being as filterless and filter-free as possible! WHERE YOU CAN FIND/SEE HER: Official Site- http://www.courtneymarieandrews.com/ Spotify- https://play.spotify.com/artist/1EI0B66miJj5Fl408B7E9H Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CourtneyMarieAndrews/ SONGS TO START WITH (from Honest Life):

*NOTE: I highly recommend buying the whole album and listening to it from beginning to end, but if you just want to start with a few songs and see how you feel about them, below are my top picks with YouTube links and my favorite lyrics! I hope you enjoy this gem of a human and artist as much as I do. Track #1: “Rookie Dreaming” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JO9yg7AUFmM

My Favorite Lyrics:

“I am a passenger to somewhere

I do not yet know the name

I am a 1960’s movie

I am an unwritten story

I am a ‘When will I see you again’”

Track #2: “Not the End” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqbqINoDzSU

My Favorite Lyrics:

“So many nights we’d spend

In our little basement room

A part of you became a part of me then

And I know you feel it too

I’m so far away now

In this empty hotel room

Trying to dream up every memory

So I can feel closer to you”

Track #3: “Irene” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk8oHuzbpZ4

My Favorite Lyrics:

“Sometimes good people draw troublesome things” “Gain some confidence, Irene

If you speak let your voice ring out” “The heart is funny, Irene

You can’t control who it wants to love

So let it love, Irene

Man or woman or anyone it wants

You dream of the north, Irene

Well that’s where you ought to be

You gotta want it, Irene

Don’t follow any path halfheartedly”

Track #7: “Table for One” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhsVeO4N0gE

My Favorite Lyrics:

“‘Cause I’m a little bit lonely

A little bit stoned

And I’m ready to go home”

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