May Your Kindness Remain
Courtney Marie Andrews’ ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ is an album that arrives at a time when the talk around us is of wars and building walls to keep people out.
Courtney sings and asks, but does not preach, for a gentler time of understanding and consideration of the other person’s view. And she sings with THAT voice that makes you listen and question why we can’t be nicer to each other.
Musically, Courtney has moved on as well. On the back of universally well received previous album, ‘Honest Life’, she could be forgiven for simply replicating that hugely successful template. It is to her credit, that she has not done so, and yet produced an album of such warmth and honesty that it clings to the listener long after the last note has faded.
Having produced ‘Honest Life’ herself, she has enlisted the aid of seasoned producer Mark Howard, who has worked with such illustrious heavyweights as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Waits. He brings fresh textures to the mix, and yet allows that crystal voice to illuminate the process.
Soul and Motown influences abound and it retains a country tinge but there is a gospel feel as well through the record. It is a call, not to arms, but to the heart.
Fortune might buy you diamonds all shiny and new but it can’t buy you happiness or love that is true. And if your money runs out and your good looks fade, may your kindness remain.
Courtney Marie Andrews, one imagines, could be a very accomplished short story writer should she choose. She paints vivid pictures of characters caught in difficult times like Irene from the previous album there are a lot of “good people who draw troublesome things”. Their prospects on this record, however, seem more optimistic despite their circumstances.
As Courtney states herself:
A lot of people are poor in America and because of those unattainable goals, they’re also mentally unstable, or sad, or depressed or unfulfilled. A lot of people – myself included at some point in my life – are loving somebody through this. That’s sort of the theme of the record: coming to terms with depression and the reality of the world we’re living in.
There is humour too in tracks like ‘I’ve Hurt Worse’, which lists debatable positive points of a partner, yet when she sings “I’ve hurt worse” for the second time, there is real pain and yearning for love in that voice.
‘Border’ takes on the immigrant’s story, and asks not that you walk a mile in their shoes before you judge, rather – “you cannot measure a man until, you’ve been down the deepest well”, and sonically varies the album again with its incessant driving organ lead riff.
This could be an eventful year for the 27-year-old Arizonian, already the recipient of International Artist of the Year at the recent UK Americana awards in London.
Loose Records will continue releasing some of her back catalogue, the next being ‘No One’s Slate Is Clean’, and with a spate of high profile gigs to come, this could and should be her year.
Her only Irish gig this time around is in Whelan’s, Dublin on 20th April. This is one not to miss.