On her third tour of the UK this year Courtney Marie Andrews brought her band to Talking Heads in Southampton.
The support from troubadour Buck Meek brought a surprise, Courtney’s band led by Dillon Warnock came on to back him for the last three numbers of his set. Unusual and much appreciated.
Starting with Long Road Back To You from her latest album, Andrews’ vocal mike started to feedback and she stopped the song, sorted out the sound and picked up the track from the midway point as if nothing had happened.
From this point on the show was faultless. Andrews and her superb band gave, as always, a brilliant performance. With 17 tracks in 90 minutes quality track followed quality track, including How Quickly Your Heart Mends, Two Cold Nights in Buffalo, I’ve Hurt Worse and Table For One.
Outstanding vocals on Near You perfectly matched her compelling lyrics “I’m not asking for the moon or even the whole truth ….. I just want to be near you.”
Andrews dedicated an extended version of Border to the work of The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Sea Town saw her dancing around the stage.
There was plenty of familiar material, largely drawn from the latest two albums, with two excellent new numbers,Guilty and Set It Free, and a real treat for Aretha Franklin fans added to the mix.
The clue to Courtney’s appreciation of Aretha came in the first line of her opening track Long Road Back To You when she sings “Call me when you get to Austin” which mirrors Aretha’s Call Me lyrics “Baby will you call me the moment you get there”.She also told BOON in an interview last year of her love for Franklin’s music.
Andrews delivered a sensational vocal performance of Chain Of Fools dedicated to the Queen of Soul. “I learnt to sing listening to Aretha’s records. She means the world to me.”
Alternating between guitar, piano and solo vocal, Andrews breezed through her set, with commitment, passion, soul, confidence and skill. It is rare to excel at both elements of the singer-songwriter genre, but Andrews stars in both disciplines.
Andrews began her encore with a breathtaking version of Took You Up, with the reaffirming lyric “Ain’t got much, but we got each other.” Crowd favouriteIrene closed the show.
Andrews is back in the UK in December for another tour, including a performance at London’s prestigious Union Chapel. Don’t miss her.
Words by Chaz Brooks