By Guy Marhcam, Music Sub Editor
Following on from the release of her critically acclaimed sixth album, Courtney Marie Andrews, treats Bristol's Colston Hall to an evening of cuddles and gentle revolution.
Having toured heavily throughout 2018 with the support of her own band, Andrews' current U.K run offers fans something a little more special. With the band no longer present, the singer has far greater reign to play whatever she likes, be it a smattering of old songs, new songs and funny stories of her song writing journey across the deep south of America.
Having seen Andrews alongside her rocking Americana backing band at this year's Green Man Festival in the Brecon Beacons, her Bristol show allowed me to see a different side to her brand of folk and country music. A far more intimate, soothing and reflective side. In many ways, the solo gig was able to strike a stronger chord, emphasising the power of Andrews' voice and song writing. Getting to see the hard-working and thought-provoking musician behind the Stetson.
Andrews began proceedings with 'Rookie Dreaming' off her 2017 album Honest Life. Due to the intimacy of the evening, Andrews was able to give the captivated audience an insight into the story behind the song. The singer-songwriter recounted her experience of a 'big-deal' producer encouraging her to use a co-writer, to which she objected vehemently and as a result wrote the album and this very song herself. Andrews then raced into 'Rough Around the Edges', a brilliant and emotive track off her 2018 album, May Your Kindness Remain, as well as treating the crowd to some deep cuts from her ever growing and impressive back catalogue.
The evening saw Andrews switch frequently between her acoustic guitar and piano. While sitting at the piano, Andrews dedicated 'Paintings from Michael' to her creative and artistic uncle, who despite currently being incarcerated still sends her some of his thoughtful artistic work. The song reflected her powerful and emotional song-writing, certainly reducing members of the audience to tears. A particular highlight from the evening was Andrews' solo rendition of 'Irene', a song she wrote in support of one of her musical peers who happened to be struggling with their sexuality. The song represented an uplifting and sentimental call to arms for the LGBT community, resulting in a rousing reception from the clearly taken aback Bristol crowd.
As the set drew to a close, Andrews began to take fan requests, echoing an influence of Bruce Springsteen, perhaps in his more country 'Tunnel of Love' days. The love for Andrews was clear, with one fan requesting to hear her latest album in full. After around three fan requests, Andrews drew the charm filled and self-described 'extra-long' set to a phenomenal close. Final track, 'May Your Kindness Remain' showcased the singer-songwriters booming voice at its finest. The song also put forth an all-important message, which seems especially pertinent in the world's current climate. An artist truly at the top of their game.
Featured Image: Courtney Marie Andrews/ Loose Music
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