March 23d was a bonanza for my personal music listening. Both Courtney Marie Andrews and Lissie Maurus released their latest albums. Then one of the kids told me about Brandi Carlile and her 2012 album, Bear Creek. While I always listen to a variety of things, these three artists have been front and center the past few weeks. I’m not too good with genres, but they’re all three really strong singers and writers, and range across different styles of what is probably rock, folk, and country. What I would tell my kids fits in my “listenable” category of music.
Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain
I think this is her fourth album, although it’s the second one since I first heard about her. She’s got a lovely voice, a bit country and folk, and I really enjoy her lyrics. On that album, Honest Life, I tended towards “Irene” and “Only in My Mind.” This album – May Your Kindness Remain – seems a bit more mellow than the last, but with more instruments. I particularly like “I’ve Hurt Worse”.
Lissie – Castles
My first exposure to Lissie was “Sleepwalking” which led me to her whole album, Back to Forever. And then back to her previous albums, like Catching a Tiger , with “Record Collector” and “Cuckoo”, which is still one of my favorites. Then came My Wild West and her move from California to Iowa. Castles came out on March 23d and, even though she’d been releasing songs in advance, still took me by surprise. The music seems connected to her earlier albums, although you can hear the additional layers she’s talked about in interviews. I think my favorite off this album is “Somewhere”, but “Best Days” is close.
Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek
Brandi Carlile was new to me, even though she’s been singing and recording for nearly 15 years. One of our kids watches music even more closely than I do and often mentions new groups or singers that I may not have come across otherwise. This is such a great album, more country than Lissie and more uptempo than most of Courtney Marie Andrews but when I put all three on, there’s a level that all three albums seem to hover around.
So much good music. Now I have to work through more of Brandi Carlile’s music, including her newest album, By the Way, I Forgive You. It’s like finding buried treasure.