Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Old Flowers

On her third album for both Fat Possum and Loose Records, Courtney Marie Andrews has pulled in to one package all the song-writing skill, vocal prowess, and musicianship displayed on previous albums, into one career defining statement. A break-up record for sure, though due to Courtney’s extraordinary storytelling gifts, more of a modern day
coming-of-age tale of love won, love sustained, and unfortunately, love’s inevitable dissolution.

To celebrate, I’d like to share some personal sentiments regarding these songs…on ‘Old Flowers’:

You can’t water old flowers. Yes, you fall in love, you make mistakes, and so do they. You run through blackberry fields in the summer of your youth, dream in passenger seats gazing past towns and fields, imagining a future life where everything works out. I fell head over heels in love at nineteen. The kind of love where you call up your best friend and say, “I think I’ve found my soulmate.” The pull towards that first true love is strong. It consumes you, makes you question your own dreams.

We taught each other, grew up together, we were family. We fit just right, for a time. Then one day, after a long and rocky nine-year road, life changed and became a complicated mess too hard to untangle. We couldn’t get our love back, no matter how many dreams that shadowed this hard truth. We grew resentful, selfish, harbouring past mistakes and holding them up like armour from every blow. We grew up and our paths diverted.

On New Year’s Day, 2018, a great horned owl dropped dead at my exes’ feet in my mother’s yard. It felt like a daunting omen, ushering on change for the both of us. We were distraught. We couldn’t afford the taxidermy, so we placed it in a big blue plastic garbage bin. Now it felt so cheap, that mystic creature in a plastic coffin. That’s how love feels sometimes – like we don’t serve it the ending it deserves.

The omen was true. That year, I started to see the woman I could be, the woman I wasn’t yet. Anytime I felt like myself, I was alone and wandering, and I knew that was a sign that it was time for change. New Year’s Day 2019, I said goodbye to my first true love and moved across the country. Losing someone you spend every day for nearly a decade with is intense. We talked in our dreams. I knew where he was, even before I entered a place. He’d always be there if I had a feeling. Humans are connected in unexplainable ways.

I was writing a lot after we broke up as a healing technique, preserving each memory like an emotional archaeologist. Late one night, I woke up from a dream where I was searching for him, my ex, at a carnival. It was so vivid. I woke myself up to write a song on my piano. The next morning, he reached out to me for the first time in months. We went out, had a drink, caught up, and he told me that the hardest part about our separation was a reoccurring nightmare where he searched for me at a carnival. In that moment, I knew, humans have ways of connecting beyond words and touch. I truly believe that. We had the same dream, without seeing each other for months.

Even with all the mystic symbolism that year presented, this is an age-old story I can’t make up. We fall in love, we grow up, we change, and they don’t change with us. ‘Old Flowers’ is about heartbreak. There are a million records and songs about that, but I did not lie when writing these songs. This album is about loving and caring for the person you know you can’t be with. It’s about being afraid to be vulnerable after you’ve been hurt. It’s about a woman who is alone, but okay with that, if it means truth.

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This was my truth this year – my nine year relationship ended, and I’m a woman alone in the world, but happy to know herself.
These songs came to me alone, late nights in Bisbee, Lisbon, Nashville, and London. Sometimes I’d just cry and sing, and a song would come out. I drank too much wine while writing this record, lit too many candles. You could say this was my attempt to summon the muse, but that’s bullshit, because she was just standing there naked looking me in the eyes. So I told her the truth.

This is my story of the most heart-breaking, but soul-revealing, year of my life. I drove myself mad. I drove to the smoky mountains just to drive back. I danced with a Portuguese boxer and cried on his shoulder in a Fado cafe. I did everything an artist is “supposed to do.” But at the end of the day, beyond all the romance, these songs are my truth. I think they might be yours too.

Released July 24th, 2020

Newly remastered double LP beautifully repackaged gatefold sleeve with new artwork and expanded liner notes. Second disc includes the Mad Dog Studio sessions from 1991

A firm fan favourite, Giant Sand’s essential 1991 album ‘Ramp’ was the second of three revered albums the band released in the early 90s. Now set for a remastered special indie store exclusive, the new edition released on 17th July comes beautifully repackaged in a gatefold sleeve with new artwork and expanded liner notes from MOJO’s Dave Henderson.

‘Ramp’ is a magical trip with a host of guests including Victoria Williams, Rainer and Pappy Allen. Featuring piano lounge music for an off-world colony interrupted by an onslaught of guitar when needed. Reverb on, fuzz friendly. Up to 11, it’s light and dark and the better for it, a musical journey on a road less travelled. All sounds are welcome; banjo, dobro, pedal steel, plaintive harmonica, whistling all wrap themselves around the flow of consciousness; those truly memorable words. With Gelb’s lyrical invention to the fore: “His thoughts unfold in long, rolling sentences that don’t always follow conventional rules of grammar or syntax.” (The Quietus).

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The Tucson sound at it’s very best.

Releases July 17th, 2020

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The Resonars solidified their sound once guitarist/vocalist/producer Matt Rendon decided to quit trying to play with other people and started working on his own with an old 4-track recorder. Once alone, he concocted an approach that blended the snappy melodies of the British Invasion with the powerful punch of mod bands like the Who. He added some garage rock swagger and recorded the songs with unvarnished arrangements and a bit of fuzz. The group’s first album, 1997’s The Resonars laid out the template and each record that came after followed it closely. With stays on labels like Get Hip, Trouble in Mind, and Burger Records (where they released their finest albums in the 2010s), the band carved out a space for themselves where garage, power pop, psychedelia, and mod all happily converged.

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Another Solid release by one of my Favourite bands of the last 10 years. Producing some of the most catchy 60’s style pop rock with some great guitars and super catchy vocals. Songs such as Don’t Ever Disappear, Brown Baby and I Wonder are so bouncy and catchy its not funny. Easily one of my favourite records of 2020 and another solid release.

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Released April 21st, 2020

Deer Tick guitarist/vocalist John McCauley unveiled a studio version of Courtney Marie Andrews‘ “Rough Around The Edges.” Andrews returned the favor by sharing her take on McCauley’s “Goodbye, Dear Friend.”

Courtney Marie Andrews is currently on tour as support for Deer Tick. Last Tuesday, Andrews joined Deer Tick for a cover of Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker’s “Up Where We Belong.” Courtney originally recorded “Rough Around The Edges” for her 2018 studio album May Your Kindness Remain, while Deer Tick’s original “Goodbye, Dear Friend” can be found on 2010’s The Black Dirt Sessions.

Courtney Marie Andrews‘ acoustic cover of Deer Tick’s song, “Goodbye, Dear Friend”.

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Released May 2nd, 2019
Performed by Courtney Marie Andrews.
Written by John J. McCauley III.

‘May Your Kindness Remain’ is a year old today. It has been a magical and wild journey of a year. Thank you to all who’ve been a part of it.

After a decade spent at the height of the music industry, touring solo and with large pop bands, she realized her desire for a place to come home to. She found that in a small rural town in the deep forests of Washington State. There, she posted up at a local bar, slinging drinks, basking in the simplicity and reflection it allowed.

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Thank you to Rolling Stone magazine for naming my song “May Your Kindness Remain” the number one country/americana song of the year. I write music with the intention of connecting with myself and others through words and feelings, and I’m so happy to know this song has resonated with so many folks this year.

releases May 17th, 2019

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Tow’rs is led by husband and wife Kyle and Gretta Miller, who aren’t terribly concerned about blowing out their string-infused folk-rock songs to fill arenas. Listen to the wistful “Girl in Calico,” and you’ll hear key ingredients of a powerhouse anthem — luscious strings, a crisp guitar line, rich vocal harmonies and none of the rafter-rattling grandiosity. Instead, every sound is impeccably rendered in the service of tender, ornate quietude.

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Tucson, Arizona’s Matt Rendon has certainly done his homework. Over the course of 22 years and six albums as The Resonars (seven if you count the Butterscotch Cathedral album; a one-ff psychedelic magnum opus released in 2015) for labels like Get Hip & Burger Records, Rendon’s musical vision has remained unwavering; a paean to a lost-era of analog recording, whip-smart, dynamic songwriting, and soul-stirring anthems to ignite generations. “No Exit” is his latest album as The Resonars.

“No Exit” kicks off with the epic clang of “Louise Tonight”, which merges dive-bombing guitar licks and bombastic drumming, hinting at the controlled chaos of a modern day Townshend/Moon. Elsewhere, “The Man Who Does Nothing” evokes the shimmering harmonies of The Hollies atop a persistent backbeat, and tunes like “Before You’re Gone” “Beagle Theory” sidle up to a dreamy kiwi-jangle strong enough to make Martin Phillips jealous. Conversely, tunes like side two’s “All Those Hats” rages with an amphetamine-laced melodic tension reminiscent of The Buzzcocks or The Undertones. Rendon has consistently proven to have a knack for an everyman style of songwriting that doesn’t seem rote or tired, lacing his melodic vocal harmonies with that melancholic joy omnipresent in the best numbers by bands like The Beach Boys, Big Star or even Simon & Garfunkel’s pop hits. 

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Rendon typically handles all aspects of Resonars albums from the recording & engineering (at his own Midtown Island Studios) to the performance of every instrument, but for “No Exit” he employs the help of some friends & colleagues; Resonars live drummer Johnnie Rinehart plays on half the tunes, while sometimes live members Ricky Shimo and Travis Spillers play bass & sing (respectively) on two numbers. Despite being the first Resonars album in 5 years, Rendon shows no signs of stopping; He’s a rock & roll lifer, having been raised in a musical environment & osmosis thru older sibling’s rock fandom. Once it’s inside you there’s no escape. “No Exit”, if you will.

Releases April 19th, 2019

This is Courtney Marie Andrews‘ fourth record, “No One’s Slate is Clean.”
released December 6th, 2010, It’s near Impossible to pick a favorite track. This albums is stellar from start to finish. Do yourself a favor and listen to this album. Each song flows into the next in a logical, touching way, and there’s a large-scale building to (what I feel is) a climax.  a perfect snapshot of an age full of imperfections. Incredibly beautiful melodies, pro arrangements, and raw honesty – the marriage of simple things that birth complex emotions.

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All songs written and performed by Courtney Marie Andrews.

Courtney Marie Andrews: acoustic guitars, electric guitars, vocals, vocal harmonies, synth, string arrangements for, “Canals of Amsterdam” and “Songs for Tourists.”

Ethan McCracken: electric guitars, synth, vocal harmonies on, “Bumper in the Hail,” and string arrangements for “Canals of Amsterdam” and “Songs for Tourists.”

Tim Mechling: piano, rhodes, organ, and string arrangements for “Unbalanced Suns.”

Alex Stoops Sabel: bass

Luke Knezevich: drums, percussion

Additional Musicians:
Chris Testa: percussion
Patrick Austin: violin
Jared MacFarlane: violin
Clifton P. Antoine: viola
Brad Hawkins: cello

Courtney Marie Andrews, May Your Kindness Remain

The layers of singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain are vast as the music is enchanting. Her sixth record is easy to fall for, with her dusky soprano rising atop an easy-going, yet sultry band. Her groove is reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt, particularly with the way she slides around the spectrum of Americana: country, folk, gospel and something else you can’t quite put your finger on. Lyrically, Andrews is in touch with her own loneliness, kindness and empathy and that shines through songs like “I’ve Hurt Worse,” “May Your Kindness Remain” and “Two Cold Nights in Buffalo.” The inspiration for these songs came from meeting people on her tours and realizing that everyone is suffering from the same types of sadness. May Your Kindness Remain is an accurate, passionate account of facing problems directly and dealing with depression head-on.

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There’s a confounding nature to the comfort constructed by The Myrrors throughout the flawless forty minutes of “Entranced Earth,” the third full-length album from the transcendentally-tuned, Tuscon-tied desert die-hards (and their second for Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records).

Those looking for terra firma – for ground not given to staggering shifts, for easily grasped handholds, for the force of gravity as we know it – are likely to find the album an often-groundless experience. But for listeners willing to give themselves over to the landscape presented on “Entranced Earth,” the reward lies in the discovery of new lands, and the sound of a band operating at the peak of their powers.

When last we saw the reflection of The Myrrors, it was in the form of their previous release, “Arena Negra,” an album that announced its presence immediately and with high dosage of the appropriate amplification. “Entranced Earth,” by contrast, gives indication of The Myrrors entering an altogether different atmosphere, taking on an altogether higher climb, shorn of all hesitation and allowing their freak flags to unfurl and fly like never before.

Still, it’s difficult (and altogether unnecessary) to pin down “Entranced Earth” beyond the spires of sonic smoke that the album seems to generate at will. So subtle is the album- opening invocation of “Mountain Mourning” that it threatens to never descend from its sky-bound view, leaving the track that follows, “Liberty Is In the Street,” to offer the album’s first, fading glimpse of solid ground. “On your feet or on your knees” goes the mantra-like vocal drone, though the effect is likely to bring to mind the Moody Blues more than Blue Öyster Cult (at least, the path of The Myrrors seems to include traces of the footprints left by the one-time Harvard professor given an early eulogy by the Blues on “Legend of a Mind”). By the time that “No Clear Light” – a torch-lit, dust-crusted dirge that can be felt as the beating heart of the album overall – leads listeners toward the nearly nine-minute title track and album centerpiece, there are doubtlessly many more wanderers pledging allegiance to The Myrrors unnamed cult. 

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Guitars of six and twelve strings, harmonium, tablas, alto sax, bulbul tarang – these are the tools of The Myrrors all-consuming quest, expertly applied for maximum elevation. Enter the realm of “Entranced Earth,” sit still and let the ground disappear beneath your feet.

Band Members
Nik Rayne / Grant Beyschau / Miguel Urbina / Kellen Fortier / Casey Hadland
released May 27th, 2016