Courtney Marie Andrews
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:15 PM
I Had A Dream That You Were Mine is an album of songs Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam wrote and recorded together between July 2014 and February 2016. In the spirit of collaborative albums, not unlike those of David Byrne and Brian Eno, each musician's individuality remains in tact, while in fact, on this record, both Hamilton's identity as a singer and Rostam's as a producer seem to reach new heights.
"This was a record I'd been wanting to make for at least a decade," Rostam says. "As a fan of Hamilton's voice in the Walkmen, I'd been wanting to capture it in ways it hadn't been captured before -- to make songs with him that placed the crooner right beside the howler, the screamer beside the whisperer -- to try to leave no stone unturned in terms of how we should approach the delivery of a song. And also to try to push his voice outside of any musical context it had lived in before."
Says Leithauser, "Rostam's one-man-band process is so fundamentally different from the way I've always written songs, and it's very impressive. We had no idea what kind of music we were going to make -- we actually didn't know we were working on an album at first -- but unexpected things kept falling into place. We were writing and recording everything simultaneously -- it was flat-out inspiring just to be there."
Many of these songs seem to take place in a memory of New York's past, or wading through the waist high waters in a half-submerged New York of the future. Yet what unites them is that they tell stories -- I Had A Dream That You Were Mine is an album, a collection of songs yes, but also a collection of narratives. "The Bride's Dad" faithfully recounts an unexpected (an probably uninvited) guest at a friend's recent wedding; "You Ain't That Young Kid" follows the wistful narrator through a night of lost love and transformed resolve.
From the doo-wop of "When the Truth is..." to the country pedal steel of "The Morning Stars"; from the piano and organ alchemy of the Band in "A 1000 Times," to the Leonard Cohen-esque Spanish triplets of "In a Black Out"; the album harnesses the exploding musical styles of midcentury America -- which, when melded with the warbled 1980's analogue synthesizers of "You Ain't That Young Kid," the ultramodern sub bass of "Sick as a Dog," the intimate falsetto of "1959," and the raucous bar-room chorus of "Rough Going" -- sparks an entirely unexpected and innovative style.
Courtney Marie Andrews
At just 16 years old, Courtney Marie Andrews left home in Arizona for her first tour. She traveled up and down the West Coast, busking and playing any bars or cafés that would have her. Soon after, she took a Greyhound bus four nights straight from Phoenix to New York to do the same on the East Coast. For a decade or so since, Courtney's been a session and backup singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists, including Damien Jurado. She never stopped writing her own material, though. Picking up admirers like Jurado and Ryan Adams along the way, she has quietly earned a reputation as a songwriter's songwriter.
With plans to settle down for a bit and focus on her own songs, Courtney moved to the Northwest in 2011 to record her last full-length record On My Page. However, the record had hardly been released before she was on the road again performing other artists' songs, eventually leading her overseas to play guitar and sing with Belgian star Milow. At the tour's end, though, the other session players joined her to record her 2014 EP Leuven Letters in one take.
It was during this time that Courtney also wrote many of the songs on Honest Life. She found herself realizing the impact of growing up on the road and this constant reconciling between her and other's art and identity. Courtney will take it from there:
While in Belgium for four months, I was going through a major heartbreak. I started growing homesick for America and the comfort of family and friends, and life in the states. That's where I wrote the first songs for Honest Life. It was a giant hurdle in my life. My first true growing pains as a woman. That's why in a sense, I feel this record is a coming of age album. A common thread that runs through the songs, is a great desire to fit somewhere, when nowhere fits. And wanting to get back home to the people I know and love. Once I got back to the States, I started to bartend at a small town tavern. I was home for a while, and needed to post up while rehearsing with the band for the record. At the tavern, I felt I could truly empathize with the stories and lives of the people there. I wrote the other half of the songs about coming home and feeling a sense of belonging again. A lot of the stories at that tavern definitely ran parallel with my own, even though our lives were so different. I was the "musician girl." They were farmers, construction workers, plumbers, waitresses, and cashiers. But, no matter how different, I felt we were all trying to live our most honest life.
Courtney produced the entire record herself at Litho Studios in Seattle with recording engineer Floyd Reitsma.