Live Review: Courtney Marie Andrews – Leeds, 01.03.23

The trip to the Brudenell to see Courtney Marie Andrews was a last minute and unexpected one for me. But it was a brilliantly welcome one.

Touring her new Loose Future record, and kicking the whole trip off in Leeds, this was a consummate performance, one of an artist that thoroughly warrants her Grammy nomination for the 2020 album Old Flowers.

Having come straight in from New York following a show at the city’s celebrated Carnegie Hall, you could have perhaps forgiven an artist for looking around this more prosaic venue and wondering if they could muster the same energy as they had 4 nights prior.

There’s something about Brudenell in Leeds though that always brings out the best in performers, so close to the audience, with a palpable energy and relationship evident from the outset. The title track from the new record gets things underway – Andrews at the mic with an acoustic guitar setting an exquisite tone.

There’s a folky vibe to the set, reflecting the sound from the album. You Do What You Want increases the energy, before the band leave the stage. It leaves Andrews alone on stage to “try out a new song. Why not try it out at the Brudenell hey?” The two numbers she performs here are captivating, a beautifully vulnerable part of the set. There’s a Joni Mitchell / Christine McVie quality about the vocal sometimes, something which is true of the album too, and it’s a wonderful thing.

The band return and Near You, driven forward by an insistent beat and a guitar solo that delivers a more rocky edge accelerate towards the end of a masterfully constructed set.

Similarly, the powerful rhythm in Carnival Dream with the soaring vocal and Andrews at the piano brings us towards the close of an elegant evening, demonstrated the richness and texture of her storytelling.

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