Loose Future – Courtney Marie Andrews – Album Review
by Cathy Brown
Courtney Marie Andrews has often been seen as the poster girl for a certain style of Americana, thanks in the main to her stunning voice, which calls to mind some of the greats of the country scene. On Loose Future, her third album, she comes out from under that Americana label to deliver her most impressive and impressionistic album to date.
Loose Future is aptly named as Andrews glides effortlessly through styles and genres. Her intricate lyrics and vulnerable vocals lead the way, in songs that range from country to folk and classic Americana with a bit of soft rock thrown in for good measure.
Born out of an experiment during lockdown where Andrews wrote a song a day for an entire month, these chosen ten tracks were produced by Sam Owens (aka Sam Evian) whose work with Big Thief and Buck Meek make him a perfect fit for Andrews developing style. Recorded at his studio in the Catskills, they enlisted the support of Grizzly Bear’s drummer and percussionist, Chris Bear and Josh Kaufman of Bonny Light Horseman.
The introspection and melancholy that marked her previous albums remain, but Loose Future has a more upbeat, effortless vibe. This is particularly evident on the standout track and recent single These Are The Good Old Days, which combines layered vocals and a timeless Nashville sound to celebrate living in the here and now. The title track channels Fleetwood Mac at their most laid back with a soft rock sensibility and languid arrangement that belies Andrews’ spiky lyrics. Andrews’ country roots are still in evidence on tracks like the pared-back On the Line and the hymn-like Let Her Go while Satellite channels her pop influences, which suit the ethereal vocals and create a bright, effervescent sound.
Lyrically Loose Future might tread similar ground to Andrews’ previous work, but this is an expansive album, both in words and sounds. The arrangements are playful and experimental, combining unusual tones, tight harmonies, sweeping orchestral backdrops and shifting textures to surprise and delight. Best of all is Andrews’ vocal; always able to convey a depth of feeling, but on Loose Future it is reverberating with tangible exhilaration.
As the album closes on the achingly gorgeous Nilsson inflected Me and Jerry, you know you are hearing a real talent coming into her own.
Do not let that sweet vocal fool you; there is grit, depth and real musical maturity behind the surface beauty of Loose Future and this album is the exhilarating sound of an artist staying true to her own unique vision and voice.
Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music
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