Album Review: Courtney Marie Andrews – Honest Life

With a musical history that boasts of five studio albums at the age of 25, which included a stint on tour with the likes of Jimmy Eat World, it’s surprising that Courtney Marie Andrews has gotten the treatment of a fresh faced artist with the release of her new record. Now on her sixth album, the Phoenix native has recently released Honest Life – an easy country compilation of love, loss, anonymity and new adventures.

Quietly easing into the album, Rookie Dreaming introduces a sound that leans towards the acoustic nomadic flair of classic Country. Pulled in by continuous waves of Andrew’s steady vocals, the track reflects the state of mind in which Honest Life was conceived. Andrews started work on the project whilst singing back-up for Belgian artist Milow, and with this same unwavering breath, Andrews skilfully pieces together a narrative which vividly depicts its characters, and tracks their movement through familiar circumstances.

Rising from the same arrangement as Rookie Dreaming, Not The End ponders on the cruel nostalgia attached to losing a love, but more importantly, it sets the lyrical precedent for the ballads of the record – “but beauty means nothing when you are not with me”. Andrews takes an uncomplicated approach to writing which is reflective of her willingness to openly relay what she describes as her “first true growing pains as a woman”. Despite bordering on repetition, the stories told in Honest Life are clear cut; her ability to act as both artist and producer on this body of work should not go unnoticed and is a mark of her growing talent as an artist.

From the confident affirmations in How Quickly Your Heart Mends to the sombre solitude depicted in Table For One, Andrews’ effortlessly smooth vocals are layered over an unwavering composition of strings which pushes Andrew’s voice to the forefront of each beautiful track. With Only In My Mind, Andrews reflects on the moments in which dreams and expectations are met with the relentless hand of reality. For every utterance of optimism and potential found in Honest Life, it’s difficult to imagine a future where the successes of Andrews as an artist will stand as nothing but a figment of her imagination.

Simi Abidakun