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Courtney Marie Andrews stunned the Celtic Connections crowd at Glasgow's ABC with her unique blend of indie pop and country ballads, reminiscent of her upbringing in Phoenix, Arizona.
Playing as part of the world-renowned Celtic Connections folk festival, Andrews delighted the crowd with many of her biggest hits including ‘Kindness of Strangers’ – a ballad that could easily be on a Joni Mitchell album, and ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ – the titular track from her fourth studio album, due to be released in March of this year.
Andrews wowed the crowd with each song, giving a brief introduction before each. A personal favourite for me was ‘Border’ - about a sheriff from her hometown of Maricopa County who ran a desert ‘concentration camp’ which imprisoned mainly Hispanic men. Through her powerful lyrics, Andrews urged us to be welcoming to foreigners and warned against the attitudes of the sheriff – lyrics that are just as relevant in today’s society.
Andrews played solo, with just an acoustic guitar and her incredible vocals, which captivated the crowd for well over two hours. Andrews also accompanied herself on piano – her first time playing live – during her track, ‘This House’, a simple song about finding a home wherever you go.
Andrews was supported in Glasgow by Edinburgh-born artist Adam Holmes and The Embers. The band, led by Holmes, delivered an eclectic mix of sounds that resonated with both Scotland and the US. With a host of awards and nominations behind him, including Best Newcomer at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Best Up and Coming Artist at the Scots Trad Music Awards, and an album featuring the incredible Eddie Reader, Holmes is currently promoting his third album, Midnight Milk.
Featuring an incredible number of instruments including percussion, an accordion, guitars, piano and drums, Holmes and The Embers opened the night with a bang, with the track, ‘When Will I Be Free’, which featured their unique ‘scot-rap’ lyrics. With a style similar to bands such as Biffy Clyro and Twin Atlantic, Holmes uses repetitive lyrics and fleshes out each song by adding layers of instruments and harmonies.
Overcoming initial sound and lighting issues, Holmes’ relaxed vocals provided a great base for each track, as he smoothly transitioned from Americana folk to Celtic soul, and wowed the crowd with the power in his voice on tracks such as ‘People Come People Go’, which proved to be a particular favourite.
Andrews will be touring again later this April, find all her dates below and compare to get the cheapest prices available.
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