For a decade or so, Courtney Marie Andrews has been a session and backup singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists, from Jimmy Eat World to Damien Jurado. She never stopped writing her own material, though. Picking up admirers like Jurado and Ryan Adams along the way, she has quietly earned a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter. With plans to settle down for a bit and focus on her own songs, Courtney moved to the Northwest in 2011 to record her 2013 full-length On My Page.
However, the record had hardly been released before she was on the road again performing other artists' songs, eventually leading her overseas to play guitar and sing with Belgian star Milow. At the tour's end, though, the other session players joined her to record her 2014 EP Leuven Letters in one take. It was during this time that Courtney also wrote many of the songs on 2016's Honest Life. She found herself realizing the impact of growing up on the road and this constant reconciling between her and other's art and identity. Courtney produced the entire record herself at Litho Studios in Seattle with recording engineer Floyd Reitsma.
Courtney explains: "While in Belgium for four months, I was going through a major heartbreak. I started growing homesick for America and the comfort of family and friends, and life in the states. That's where I wrote the first songs for Honest Life. It was a giant hurdle in my life. My first true growing pains as a woman. That's why in a sense, I feel this record is a coming of age album. A common thread that runs through the songs, is a great desire to fit somewhere, when nowhere fits. And wanting to get back home to the people I know and love.
"Once I got back to the states, I started to bartend at a small town tavern. I was home for awhile, and needed to post up while rehearsing with the band for the record. At the tavern, I felt I could truly empathize with the stories and lives of the people there. I wrote the other half of the songs about coming home and feeling a sense of belonging again. A lot of the stories at that tavern definitely ran parallel with my own, even though our lives were so different. I was the "musician girl." They were farmers, construction workers, plumbers, waitresses, and cashiers. But, no matter how different, I felt we were all trying to live our most honest life."
"Joni Mitchell is the logical comparison to the soft howl and deep-Canyon vibrato of her vocals, but there are echoes of the Indigo Girls and even Ryan Adams' Gold too since her songs are anchored by smart lyricism that seems more like an intimate conversation than a fiery confessional." - Rolling Stone's 10 New Country Artists You Need To Know