This is, more than anything, an album about healing, about coming to terms with life "when your sweetness surrenders to the cruelness of this world", as the Arizona-born Courtney Marie Andrews sings so convincingly on Kindness of Strangers.
This is one of the 10 resonant mostly country-gospel/soul songs that chart the daily struggle between giving all and giving up. The 27-year-old, a young veteran of the New Retro school of singer-songwriters, has said that the album’s theme is “coming to terms with depression and the reality of the world we are living in”.
If that suggests a gloomy interior monologue, rest assured that Andrews, her band and her co-producer, Mark Howard, strike an impressive balance between darkness and light, between the vulnerable and the strong, seeking out the worthwhile in the everyday.
The light is the healing of epic songs such the title track which begins in smouldering intensity before firing into a full-throated finale; the almost hymnal Took You Up and the final track, the subdued journey, both literal and metaphorical, of the Long Road Back To You.
An album of sustained emotional connection that leaves you all the better for hearing it. courtneymarieandrews.com