Her third record for Fat Possum and Loose and her seventh studio album overall, Old Flowers is a career-defining statement from Arizona-based singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews. Pulling together all of her songwriting prowess honed over the last decade, it’s an album of hard-learned experience in the affairs of the heart.
Vinyl LP £18.88 VJLP257
Gatefold LP on Loose.
CD £11.80 VJCD257
CD on Loose.
The great thing about Courtney Marie Andrews is that she has the forthright conviction of a classic country songwriter yet is also constantly wracked, flailing amid the drift in a way that only Millennials of a certain emotional disposition do. I am one of these Millennials, and that’s probably why I have such fondness for Andrews’ music. At her best, records like ‘Honest Life’ stir a go-getting passion in the listener, a desire to live a full and vibrant life in spite of personal turmoil.
‘Old Flowers’, on the other hand, doesn’t do that at all. It just fucks you up.
Andrews has clearly written these songs from the other side of a turbulent relationship, one where two people love each other but on account of fate or timing or whatever else just can’t quite make it work - passing, as Andrews details on the album’s proud and resigned closer, like ships in the night. Andrews’ beautiful voice has always carried both strength and fragility, but on ‘Old Flowers’ she sounds distinctly less wide-eyed - not quite wearied, but certainly more worldly.
Sonically, ‘Old Flowers’ is Andrews’ most impressionistic LP. The songcraft is often boldly spare, the cut and thrust of her previous alt-Americana odes swapped for muted pianos and faraway, muffled ambiences. Several of the tracks end quite abruptly, almost as if Andrews is attempting to snap out of the fog of memory that hangs over the lives of those who have lost love.
At times she proclaims strength in moving on; ‘I don’t see you that way, not the way I did before’, she intones on the title-track. At other points she feels the undertow of loss swell up to overwhelm her; ‘Carnival Dream’, a track where we find possibly the stormiest arrangement in her discography, sees drums churning against Andrews’ pleading invocation ‘will I ever let love in again? I may never let love in again’. Maybe on her next album we’ll find out how the dust has settled - for now, let this thing flatten you.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- Old Flowers by Courtney Marie Andrews
What the artist or label has to say for themselves. Read more.