The sell-out crowd for Courtney Marie Andrews at Brudenell Social Club welcomed her as enthusiastically as the warm weather which had arrived in Leeds on the day of her gig.
I had not heard of Andrews before, but it is clear she has a large and committed following. And it is clear why. Described as blending “indie folk rock and country”, the music of this Americana star feels familiar and knowable, but also completely fresh and exciting. Her fellow musicians are highly accomplished and Andrews shines as a front woman with a powerful voice that she easily manoeuvres from soft to roof-raising.
A stand out track was ‘Near You’, a song which oozes gorgeously aching sadness as she sings, “I’m not asking for the moon, or even the whole truth, I don’t need to know everything about you… You can have eyes for anyone in the room, I just want, just want to be near you”. Although her gig had upbeat moments, it was during these languid, expansive songs that Andrews and her band were at their best and most mesmerising with the musical lines being unfurled far more than on the record.
There was much fun and warmth to be had too, indeed Andrews pleaded in her final song before the encore, in the title track from her new album, “may your kindness remain”. In another charming track also from her new album, ‘This House’, Andrews displays her humanity and ability to see the glass as half full: “This house ain’t much of a house but it’s a home… There’s a bed upstairs if you’re ever in town, or if you need a place to get your feet back on the ground… My house, my house is your home”.
Having released six albums in a decade and aged 27, Andrews writes and performs with a great deal of confidence and maturity. With heartfelt songs about love, longing, belonging, being home and away, her growing fanbase should expect to see Andrews in a much larger venue when she next comes to West Yorkshire.
Words and images by Rebecca Townesend