AMERICAN singer, songwriter, poet, musician and now artist Courtney Marie Andrews makes her long-awaited return to Pocklington Arts Centre tonight (19/6/2022).
Courtney, 31, had been booked to follow up her December 2018 appearance on June 17 2020, but the pandemic restrictions put paid to that show and its rearranged date of June 17 2021.
Third time lucky, the Phoenix-born Grammy nominee plays PAC this weekend, having announced the October 7 release of her ninth studio album, Loose Future on Fat Possum.
Already Courtney has launched the aptly named first single, Satellite: a departure from the more traditional Americana sound of her earlier work, building from a breezy guitar and vocal arrangement into a dreamy tapestry of synths, layered vocals and reverb-heavy slide guitar.
“I’ve written a lot of love songs, but there’s always a tinge of heartbreak, but Satellite is a love song without caveats,” she says. “I wanted to look forward and fall in love with the mystery of someone. Let love in, without questioning or instigating how it might hurt me. Sonically, I wanted to go to space. This kind of love isn’t earthbound.”
Courtney initially approached recording a new album by writing a song every day. Feeling “the sounds of the summer” flowing through her writing, gradually she collected an album’s worth of material imbued with a sense of romance, possibility and freedom.
She enlisted Sam Evian (Big Thief, Cassandra Jenkins, Anna Burch) to co-produce the songs from the recording sessions at Evian’s Flying Cloud Recordings studio in the Catskill Mountains in New York State.
Joining her on Loose Future are Grizzly Bear drummer Chris Bear and Bonnie Light Horseman’s Josh Kaufman on multiple instruments.
Committing her life to music from a young age, Courtney played in punk bands in high school before becoming a touring member of Jimmy Eat World at 18. She garnered her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Americana Album for 2020’s Old Flowers, subsequently receiving international Album Of The Year and International Artist Of The Year awards at the 2021 Americana UK Awards.
In the quietude of an emptied diary during the pandemic lockdowns, she branched out into publishing her debut poetry collection, Old Monarch, through Simon & Schuster.
Her last Pocklington show – sold out by the way – came at the end of a week when she was felled by a viral infection the morning after her London gig and had to call off her Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford gigs.
Rested and recuperated, she was still nursing a cough, but found the energy for a solo set of songs and stories, introducing Ships In The Night and It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault, two compositions that would end up on Old Flowers.
Now comes Loose Future, featuring Courtney’s own artwork too boot. “I knew I wanted to paint the cover for this record,” she says. “I was afraid to at first, but after a talk with an encouraging friend, I threw all caution to the wind and painted a season of my life in shapes.”
The album tracklisting will be: Loose Future; Older Now; On The Line; Satellite; These Are The Good Old Days; Thinkin’ On You; You Do What You Want; Let Her Go; Change My Mind and Me & Jerry.
Tickets for tonight’s 8pm concert, part of a seven-date whistle-stop tour, are on sale at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.