Album Review - Old Flowers - Courtney Marie Andrews - 2020
Courtney Marie Andrews, is a singer/songwriter hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States of America. Starting off as a session guitarist and backing singer, Courtney finally got recognition as an artist in her own right with the stunning ‘Honest Life’ album, her third solo album (I believe it was her third).
Following this up with ‘May Your Kindness Remain’, Courtney Marie Andrews was catapulted up to the lofty status she deserves, winning International Artist of the Year at the UK Americana Awards in 2018.
How do you follow up on such a beloved and successful album like that? Enter stage left, her new ten track album, ‘Old Flowers’. Experimenting with her sound, as Courtney has for every single one of her albums, yet, as with the others, keeping the dreamscape, distant world style has become her hallmark.
The album kicks off with the tracks ‘Burlap String’ and ‘Guilty’, songs that wouldn’t be out of place on Courtney Marie Andrews two previous albums. We are led gently into her world with these familiar sounds, before she goes all out with the Dreamscape Folk on ‘If I Told’, a wondrously beautiful song.
Stripping down to a simpler piano led sound with ‘Together or Alone’ and speeding up the pace with a soaring ending in ‘Carnival Dream’, the album starts to feel like that 'distant mist forming on the mountain tops' image you get with dreamscape.
‘Old Flowers’ the title track merges back into a more Country/Roots feel before the slightly experimental ‘Break the Spell’. You also start to feel the theme of loss, loneliness and broken love, but unlike the albums that came before, where we see Courtney’s world reflecting an adolescent innocence that we all had once in our youth, we now hear a more mature weariness in her voice.
An adult whose childhood dreams of love, marriage and family have fallen apart when the hardships of life have had their way with you and torn into you from all sides; this really comes together with ‘It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault’. ‘How You Get Hurt’ continues the experimental dreamscape sound as well as pinpointing where in life those dreams started to fray and fall apart.
‘Ships in the Night’ ends the album on a bittersweet tale, learning from the lessons of the past and forgiving some errors from others as well as recognising our own faults. It completes the experience this album is. Like a good movie, ‘Old Flowers’ is a whole, rather than ten tracks cobbled together.
The album ‘Old Flowers’ is beautiful, moving and enriching, more on par with ‘On My Page’ in both sound and theme, if I was to compare it to Courtney’s other works. Without a doubt it is a must for fans while also offering much for new ears that happen upon it.
Putting my bias as a huge Courtney fan aside for a moment, in my honest opinion, ‘Old Flowers’ is Courtney Marie Andrews best work to date. While the other albums started to give Courtney an identity away from anyone else out there, ‘Old Flowers’ cement’s Courtney’s style of writing and performing.
It shows off Courtney’s talent as one of the most unique and skillful singer/songwriters out there. It also backs up a comment I said in my last review, that 2020 seems to be the year of our Folk Revival. So many great albums from so many different areas of the Folk genre by newcomers, lesser known artists and those that are considered some of the genre’s best, such as Courtney Marie Andrews.
The blueprint has been torn to bits this year, caution thrown to the wind, and in its place, we have pure unmolested emotion coming from the artists’ heart. You can keep your manufactured soulless factory chart single rubbish; Folk has come full circle and all bets are off, as artists such as Courtney Marie Andrews have a story to tell and by god, she tells it well.
Old Flowers is out now on all good streaming services, you can also support the artist direct via Courtney’s Bandcamp page here:
For more information on Courtney Marie Andrews, you can find her website here:
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