Courtney Marie originally from Phoenix, Arizona and latterly of Seattle is difficult to classify. She sits with one foot in each of the country and folk camps. Her voice seems to drift effortlessly from a Mary Chapin Carpenteresque classic country style through Carole King, Laura Nyro to the modern folk sound of Laura Marling taking in everything that was great about seventies Laurel Canyon. It’s a beautiful instrument, powerful yet understated.
Tonight she is supported by her friend Bryan on pedal steel to give the songs a little more depth as and when she requires. Whilst Courtney has produced several albums it is her current album ‘Honest Life’ that has finally given her the recognition she deserves. Most of the set comes from this along with a couple of newbies and oldies.
‘Table for one’ and ‘Put the fire out’ (which has an uncanny similarity to Steve Earle’s ‘Guitar Town’) stand out for me in a night full of highlights. After an hour it’s all over but such is the size of the venue there is no escape from the crowd and she returns back to the stage for two encores and it’s probably only the British politeness that allows her to finish there as I could have happily listened for another hour.
Special thanks to the pub and promotor who saw her potential early and booked this artist for such a small venue. She won’t be playing pubs this size for much longer as demonstrated by her return trip to these shores in September. I cant wait and hoping its with a full band this time. One word for the venue though. When it’s a sold out show like tonight it might be an idea to have at least a couple of rows of chairs at the front and then standing behind. As the audience are so close, unless you are literally right in front you cannot see the artist at all especially someone as tiny as Courtney. A minor grip though on a magical evening.
Keep on folk country rockin’ y’all.