By Hannah Compton
Courtney Marie Andrews is a singer-songwriter originally from Arizona. Courtney’s music has been compared to artists such as Joni Mitchell although Courtney has a totally unique style and sound of her own which makes her a true delight to listen to. We have written a review for the album Honest Life if you wish to read more about it click here. We love it!
Having spent a lot of her time as a busking artist, Courtney has also toured with artists such as Damien Jurado and Jimmy Eat World. Courtney also provided back up vocals on five of Jimmy Eat World’s songs from their album Invented.
On January 20th, Courtney will be releasing her sixth album titled Honest Life via Loose Music.
Courtney produced the entire record herself at Litho Studios in Seattle with recording engineer Floyd Reitsma. Honest Life will be available on 18og LP, CD and digitally in January 2017.
I caught up with Courtney just before Christmas to have a chat about her album Honest Life, her UK tour and more. Courtney was a hoot to chat to, so funny, so nice and so down to earth making it one of the most relaxing and fun interviews I have ever done. I hope you enjoy our chat and more importantly, her music.
Courtney will be touring the UK during the end of February and March. Some dates she will be supporting fellow label mates The Handsome Family and other dates she will do headline shows. I highly recommend you catch a show.
Hi Courtney, how are you?
I’m doing good, how are you?
Great, thank you.
What have you been up to – and are you ready for Christmas?
(Laughs) I am so not ready for Christmas, haha, I wish I was. Some years you are so prepared and others you are just like ‘What? It’s eight days away!’
Eight days away, don’t scare me, haha.
You’re set to release your album Honest Life in the UK in January via Loose Music. It has already been out in the US, so was Loose Music a recent signing?
Yeah, I just signed to them in August – they are wonderful, I like them a lot.
I like them a lot too – and am so glad you are with them as they have some of my fav artists like Andrew Combs, Sturgill Simpson & Barna Howard.
Barna actually did the album artwork for my record.
Did he really? That’s awesome!
Yeah, he and I are friends.
Oh wow! Oh, he is so sweet and such an amazing artist. I met him in September and he was just so nice.
Yeah, he is a sweetheart.
The album has been out in America for a few months now and ranked one of Rolling Stones’ top Country albums of 2016 – how does that feel?
Excited and unexpected. It was so cool and exciting.
Did you hear it?
I did yes. Loose Music sent me a stream of it and I listened. It’s kind of funny with Chris Pratt because, at the beginning of my career, I was a busking artist and I would tour up and down the coast of America with my guitar and my friends and we would just play on the side of the streets for tips. One night we slept in the car and the next night, a friend that was with us said ‘Let’s stay at my friend Chris’ house ‘ so we slept on Chris Pratt’s couch when I was 19, haha! This was before he was the star he is now. He was on Parks and Recreations, but not nearly as huge as he is now and he just always remembered me and my songs – and now he is just shouting out to me constantly which is super awesome.
That’s so cool.
I have loved him since he was in a show called Everwood, so I like that he has great taste in music.
I am so out of touch with the Hollywood thing because my friends are like, ’You do know that he is like, the hunk of Hollywood right now?’ and I’m like ‘No, I did not know that!’, haha!
Well he is a great person to give you a shout out for sure.
I love the album by the way – it has such a great sound and each song is fantastic.
Oh, thank you.
You have a track on the album with the same title as the album. The lyrics are honest as the title says and really quite inspiring. How would you describe the song lyrically – and do you personally find it hard to lead an honest life completely?
Well, I think I wrote that at a time when transitioning from being a young woman to a woman or person. Everybody kind of goes through a personal struggle themselves and this song is kind of a reminder to myself that you need to follow your gut and your heart and live the life that you want- live honestly. So I think that’s kind of where that song came from. It’s a very coming of age transition song.
For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe the album Honest Life both sonically and lyrically?
I describe it in like three terms, a travel log record, a coming of age record and a record about heartbreak – not like’ young puppy love’ heartbreak, but the ‘we are going to spend our lives together – and now we’re not’ kind of heartbreak.
This is your sixth album right?
Yeah, haha! It’s technically my sixth – you can’t really get hold of my first three and I hope we can keep it that way, haha!
Oh, really? Ha ha!
It’s funny you should say that because I just read an interview with Kacey Musgraves where she says the same thing about her unreleased album.
We are in the age where everything is documented, so you can’t just stop it from being distributed. There’s the internet now, so it’s hard to just erase (laughs)
Yes, like with everything really – which is why I am so glad we did not have the internet when I was a teenager.
I know right? I was just at the tail end of it. Myspace was where I released my first record -remember those days?
Yes I do, feels so long ago now.
As a songwriter, do you have a favourite place you like to write in, a place that sets the mood?
It’s become anywhere. I used to try and force a session – I would try and book a two day writing session so I could write loads of songs, but it just doesn’t really work like that. I think Charles Bukowski even said once if you’re going to write, you’re going to write anywhere; you will write in an alley, you will write in a dumpster – it just doesn’t matter. If you need to write a song it will happen anywhere and I have recently sort of taken that approach. I used to make it kind of like a holiday and say this is my time, this is my spot to write – but it doesn’t work for me like that anymore.
I often wonder about that and how it can’t be easy to suddenly write a great song during a scheduled time. What if you aren’t in the mood or just draw a blank or something?
Yeah, if you’re lucky you can be in the mood but I have learned to not expect that, if I slot out a time to write.
I’ve written some of my best songs in like the strangest places, they just come.
I am really loving the song Irene – could you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind this song?
Irene was inspired by a friend who was going through a hard time. It’s definitely one of those songs that I see a lot of women and myself in and I feel like I have met Irene inside lots of friends. It’s kind of one of those songs that I wrote to give advice and I just felt like this song was a great one to write at the time. Listening back to it, sometimes I feel like Irene.
I often talk about how music is a healer, whether you write it, listen to it or sing another person’s song. Would you agree and have you found people describing your music as their personal healer – and if so, how does that feel?
Yeah, I have actually been told that quite a lot. People find comfort in my lyrics and I think it’s because I don’t really write with a filter. I’m a very sensitive and empathetic person, so I write with those characteristics and that kind of helps, I think.
You will be touring the UK in Feb March next year supporting The Handsome Family as well as doing some headline shows.
Are you excited and are you familiar with each other’s music?
Yes, I am excited – although I have only heard a few songs of theirs. Sometimes I just prefer to hear a band live first. I usually end up falling in love with the artists that I go on tour with by the end of the tour, so it will probably happen that way with them too.
They are another great signing on Loose Music, wonderfully dark, wonderfully weird, haunting duo – almost cult like.
Yeah, the single I have heard was on that TV show True Detective and it has a cool spaghetti western sound to it
Yes, that’s exactly how I described it!
Have you been here before to tour?
I have played in England, yes. I am excited about this tour though, as I have only been to the major cities and I think this time we are playing a lot of the smaller places, which I really like to do on tour.
Well, you will have a great time and you will love Union Chapel on the London date, as the acoustics there are insane and they sell hot chocolate in mugs which is nice, haha! Makes a change from just a bar.
What?? That’s awesome!
Yeah, I am at that age now where I want to sit down, enjoy music with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate and a blanket, haha. I am not actually that old, I am making myself sound ninety, haha!
Gone are the mosh pit days, gone are the queuing for hours to get to the front – ha!
I know, I am the same way. Put a little booze in the hot chocolate and I’m totally set.
Well you are more hardcore than me, haha!
What can we expect from the shows, will it be acoustic or are you bringing over a band?
I am playing as a duo, so I am bringing a guy who will play pedal steel and sing harmonies.
What else do you have planned for 2017 – and do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
–that you’re going to keep, haha!
Well, plans for 2017 will be to continue touring and writing which I hopefully always will be doing. My New Year’s resolution?….is to..oh, gee! I haven’t even thought about that , that’s a good question. I don’t actually know, haha!
Lead an Honest life?
Yeah, (laughs)Live an honest life- that would be pretty cheesy if I said that.
How about: I’ll run a marathon?
Very good, I like that.
Well, thank you very much for talking to me today, it’s been really lovely. I hope to catch you at a show.
It’s been great talking to you, too and hopefully I will catch you at the magical ‘hot chocolate’ chapel.
Haha, yes – well I may indeed be the only one with a hot chocolate, so I will be easy to spot. Look for the lady with the blanket and hot chocolate!
See you soon