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Courtney Marie Andrews

Venue: 02 ABC
Town: Celtic Connections Glasgow
Date: 29/01/18

The first of many gigs for Courtney Marie Andrews this year - she had 117 official shows in 2017 - convinced many fans here that they should be joining this beguiling singer/songwriter's journeying by heading to Edinburgh when she returns with her band in April.

Solo she's a bold, soulful and disarming performer peppering her set list with powerhouse songs only previously played in the studio but set to appear on her new album, May Your Kindness Remain, that's being released in March.

Border, based on the tale of a mean law enforcement officer in her home state of Arizona, Kindness Of Strangers and Rough Around The Edges, were intimate and dauntingly assured with the latter a lament with trademark plaintiff yet unyielding sentiment.

Each of these new songs demonstrated her ambition to explore her music sonically and to avoid bringing out an Honest Life 2 at all costs.

Either on acoustic guitar or electric piano, award-winner, Courtney was in enthralling form and extremely fine voice, though the vocal reverbs could have been toned down a bit. Small in stature she may be, but she sings magnificent: on Irene (from last year's belter, Honest Life) she sang less forcefully and the feeling at the heart of the song shone through more brightly. Similarly, on the title track of her new record, she edged through it in a quieter, heartfelt manner, caressing the lyrics all the way.

Rookie Dreaming was, as always, simply gorgeous and mellow and it always makes me think of Joni Mitchell backed by Whiskeytown, while How Quickly Your Heart Mends is just delicious folk/country storytelling: "I'm crossing out your name / now that you've crossed out mine," she sang with clear regret but equally with a steely determination to move on with her life. Courtney is a truly special talent who has worked non-stop, solo and in bands, for a decade since she hit the road as a 16-year-old.

A genuine crowd pleaser, she has an unfaltering belief in her songs, a spirited attitude and a sweetness that goes along with her undeniable, boundless talent. All this has earned her, deservedly, a following that is set to grow and grow.

Hell, yea, y'all: let's share her wanderlust and hook up with Courtney again in Edinburgh in two months' time.

Image - Michael Ozmond

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