Courtney Marie Andrews

May Your Kindness Remain

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Establishing herself as a melancholy reflector of the common man, Courtney Marie Andrews makes her Fat Possum debut with her sixth LP, May Your Kindness Remain. She had written much of her prior album, 2016's Honest Life, while living abroad after a breakup, but it was also motivated by conversations with bar patrons after she took a job as a bartender upon her return. May Your Kindness Remain also explores themes of everyday life and humanity, this time taking inspiration from the sociopolitical climate of post-2016 America. She paints backdrops like a snowstorm in Buffalo and a gas station in Austin for characters who love, toil, and can't connect with loved ones because they can't afford the bus ticket. She then presents them through a haunting blend of classic country, folk-rock, and reflective singer/songwriter pop. The album's core instrumentation of acoustic rhythm guitar, alternately gritty and echoing electric guitars, organ, bass, and drums back nuanced vocal performances. The latter mix rugged soulfulness with a tenderness that never patronizes. The most open critique of contemporary America here, "Two Cold Nights in Buffalo," uses uptempo country-rock to ask whatever happened to the middle class, to knowing our neighbors, and to "mom and pop five and dimes?" The bluesy "Border" considers the plight of a newly arrived immigrant, and songs like the title track and "Lift the Lonely from My Heart" peer into loneliness and isolation. Described in press releases as a call for empathy, May Your Kindness Remain impacts with these evocative snapshots of the 99-percent, but it also does so with Andrews' rich voice and melodicism as well as a lingering sadness.

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