“I like you honey, being with you is like being alone”. It’s a line in I’ve Hurt Worse that sums up the lyrical concerns of Courtney Marie Andrews’ sophomore album in two ways. The rocky terrain of personal relationships and the mental health issues of modern society.
If her debut was an impressive introduction to a new artist, this is the songwriter and singer blossoming with confidence and verve. Andrews was often pegged with Joni Mitchell comparisons on her first album but here she steers away from a folk sound and draws on the rich history of soul, and gospel, combined with a continued love for country music. As well as the dark, snaking groove of Border, there are added lush and tender qualities on show with organ and backing vocals adding a warmth and depth that was sometimes missing from her debut.
Andrews’ voice is still the premium drawcard with its devastating ache and swoon, capable of glorious high runs and subdued musings, yet never just for the sake of vocal gymnastics. The opener and title track is bold statement to kick things off, showing her full range and the extent of the emotional vulnerability she’s intent on bringing to these songs. From there she digs deep into tales of misguided love and the darkness on the edges of all of our towns on this consistently impressive album.