It`s nearly eighteen months since I last saw Courtney Marie Andrews at this same venue. The singer had arrived earlier that morning in the UK after a couple of flights, another cancelled and having had just four hours sleep in two days. She shared a fairly mesmerising hour flying solo and left us all bewildered with what we`d witnessed.. Tonight, she came with a band in tow and was on the penultimate show of this UK tour before heading over to Europe for another dozen gigs before her return home.
The opening act this evening is Texan troubadour Robert Ellis who shared a pretty melancholic forty minute set which included a couple of new songs in `On The Run`, `Gene` dedicated to his eldest son and the introspective `Yesterday’s New` which is also the title of the forthcoming album on which these tracks will appear. There were a couple of requests for `Sing Along` a faster paced number with some intricate guitar play and `The TV Song` before leaving us with a cover of the John Hartford written `Gentle On My Mind` made famous by Glen Campbell/ A number this singer recorded for a tribute to John Hartford.
There`s little fuss as CMA and her band arrive on stage and share the first three numbers `Loose Future`. `These Are the Good Old Days` and `You Do What You Want` all from the latest release `Loose Future` and I have to say the third track really came to life with some delightful electric guitar play shared on it. A couple of my favourite songs such as the haunting `Burlap String`, and `Irene` which always brings to mind Joni Mitchell are shared before a new number in the mesmerising `Is It Love` in which we also enjoy some whistling from the singer.
Tour support Robert Ellis joins Courtney on stage and the duo share vocals on `Change My Mind` and a cover of the Richard and Linda Thompson composition `I Want to See The Bright Light`s Tonight`. The home stretch includes the heart-breaking `Near You`, `Old Flowers`, Carnival Dream` with some captivatingly distorted guitar chord riffs before leaving us with the throwaway `Me & Jerry`. The band are encouraged to return and offer the entrancing `If I Told` a song written about unrequited love and to me a song that would draw a tear from a stone and the beguiling `Table For One’.
Once again, i`m left quite transfixed and unable to fully comprehend what i`ve absorbed in the last ninety minutes. Courtney Marie Andrews was once hailed as “the best songwriter you`ve never heard of” and part of me wishes to retain that sense of arrogance or complicity in knowing something that others haven`t quite discovered yet but this GRAMMY nominated indie, folk come Americana artist really deserves much wider recognition.
I hope to see Courtney Marie Andrews again in my hometown in maybe another eighteen months, but with no disrespect intended towards The Hare & Hounds, I’m hoping it`s in a much larger venue.