Courtney Marie Andrews: You Asked For It

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Courtney Marie Andrews
Painter's Hands and a Seventh Son
(River Jones Music Label)

Grade: B+

Legend has it that Courtney Marie Andrews first tried her hand at songwriting when only 13 years old. Now 18, under the tutelage of River Jones and his music label Andrews has released two full-length albums including her newest, Painter's Hands and a Seventh Son.

Painter's is the work of a teenage girl with some noticeable vocal chops. Andrews has the wholesome and straining vibrato of a siren, adrift between the sweet, eerie pitches of Joanna Newsom and Regina Spektor's gurgling cutesiness. Her instrumental inputs of banjo, piano and guitar don't hinder the record either.

The harp-like plucking on "The Buffalo & the Bird" anchors Andrews' melodious, gentle intonation and gives the tune a concentrated breadth. "Darling Boy" showcases her vocal versatility and expressionism, resonating the strength she possesses to emotionally engage and move her listeners.

On "Differences & Affairs (Have Fun in Ohio)" Andrews utters a tangle of lines that come off more childish than deep. "I can't guarantee that you can save me / 'Cause you are pure and I'm a sinner / But I refuse to breathe when society tells me to breathe." Truthfully, it's close to being something potent, but Andrews puts it best when she continues: "A couple of years will age us well."

Andrews is audibly talented, but young, and that's where the drawback lies. Like wine, she'll likely better with age. Once life experience catches Andrews up with her voice's gravitas, and worldliness reflects itself in her lyrics, little could hold her back. She is currently working on her third release, presumably slated for release next year. It promises to bring another level of complexity and maturity to Courtney Marie Andrews' repertoire.

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to submit a CD for review, please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Martin Cizmar
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street
Phoenix , AZ 85032

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