Courtney Marie Andrews at PAC

On Friday night American rising country star Courtney Marie Andrews came to Pocklington Arts Centre for the first time. Playing before an appreciative audience she worked her way through her extensive catalogue of music, from the old to the new. Joining her in support on her tour was folk singer Jeffrey Martin.

Review and Photos by Graeme Smith

There was a cosy and pleasant atmosphere in the auditorium of Pocklington Arts Centre when Jeffrey Martin took to the stage to open the night. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, he spun folksy, downtrodden tales of the perils of everyday existence. Alongside the music, he also told stories of his life and the origins of his songs. At times these stories were the more entertaining part of his act, being delivered with charm, wit and ease. He closed his set with A Liar And A Thief. As he explained, it was written long before Donald Trump took to office but the lyrics somehow felt fitting for modern America.

After a short interval, it was time of the main event. Courtney Marie Andrews has become something of a darling here in the UK, with her album reaching number one in the official country music top 40. Country doesn’t always feel like the right label for Courtney’s music, although there were times she did feel very honky-tonk, busting out lively acoustic renditions on her guitar.

When she took to the keys, however, things started to feel a lot more poignant. Border continued the political commentary of the night, a track penned for the benefit of Sherriff Joe Arpaio in an attempt to change his strict anti-immigration policies in Courtney’s native Phoenix, Arizona. This House was dedicated to her pet Labrador Tucker, who gets a mention in the sweet track.

Perhaps the most emotive part of the night was her rendition of Irene, a track written for her tour partner of some years ago who came out to her as gay before they started the tour. The set also included a couple of brand new tracks, written for the tour, seemingly exclusively focussed on heartbreak.

Courtney then closed the night taking requests. Rough Around The Edges was followed by Rookie Dreaming before she closed her set with May Your Kindness Remain. It was a lovely and memorable night and a rare treat to see a musician with such immense talent in such an intimate setting.

Jeffrey Martin and Courtney Marie Andrews played at Pocklington Arts Centre on Friday 7 December 2018.