Review: Courtney Marie Andrews Expands Musical Boundries on “Loose Future”

Courtney Marie Andrews
Loose Future
Fat Possum
3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Those looking for a melancholy treatise on the human condition can check out any of singer/songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews’ albums starting with her 2008 debut, Urban Myths

Throughout seven previous releases, she has laid her soul and innermost insecurities bare with startling detail, mostly concerning relationships that have soured, while also tackling socio-political issues.

That changes on her eighth album because Andrews has a new love. And even though anxieties about entering into another liaison surface, these songs gaze ahead, sometimes tenuously, to a better, more permanent result than those the 2020 Grammy nominee (Best Americana Album) has chronicled in the past.

I just want to take it slow/Can we play it cool? she asks on the opening title track, as short vocal loops yield to a full band bolstering the mid-tempo ballad with drums, multiple guitars, and pedal steel lines that float and hover around the flowing, bittersweet tune. She’s “Older Now,” and ready for a change because Andrews understands that “These Are the Good Old Days.” Regardless, her insecurity remains expressed in the reflective “Change My Mind” with I’m not used to feeling good, while understated strings, Hammond organ, and a sorrowful slide guitar echo her nagging uncertainty. 

Co-production by Andrews and Sam Griffin Owens infuses a fuller sonic palette. No one expects her to rock out, and that never threatens to happen. Still, these selections often swell and pulsate with more instruments and an increasingly robust sound. 

Andrews’ acoustic strumming underpins everything as multiple players add accompaniment. They highlight, yet never distract from, her sweetly sinuous vocals and melodies that rise and retreat like tides on the beach. The swell of “Thinkin’ on You” layers reverbed guitars and widescreen strings that bathe the music in bursts of audio color. 

At just over a half hour, the short but compelling set finds a generally chipper—if somewhat guarded—Andrews expanding her musical boundaries and peering cautiously to a brighter, more fulfilling, and looser future ahead. 

Photo credit: Brett Warren / TCBpr

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