Courtney Marie Andrews ‘May Your Kindness Remain’

Today when I got off the tube at Camden Town I noticed someone walking very close to me. A guy, maybe in his late twenties, early thirties, was walking faster than normal to try to keep up with me. That’s weird, I thought. Then he turned to me and said ‘you look beautiful today’ and I basically walk/ran to the escalators to get away from him. In honesty, I was weirded out. I spent a lot of this morning wondering why I was so weirded out. It’s happened to me countless times now, particularly on public transport – a man will start an unsolicited conversation with me, I’ll respond amiably only for the guy to start crossing boundaries; getting a little more risqué with every comment, stepping a little closer to me until I begin to feel very uncomfortable. In the wake of ‘wokeness’ and the #metoo campaign, people have begun to wonder where we draw the line. Is it a crime for someone to complement someone they find attractive? Should people never strike up conversation with strangers? Of course not, the world would be a very sad place indeed if these two things were made illegal. However, in a world where women are routinely harassed by strangers and people known to them alike, is it any wonder that I feel intimidated when men I don’t know talk to me on the tube? And if we decided collectively that unsolicited flirting was unacceptable in today’s society, what is the most appropriate way for people to meet, fall in love even? I don’t have the answer to this, or a multitude of other questions regarding consent and harassment – all I can do is speak candidly about how it makes me feel, and how I know it makes many other women feel too. I guess as a general guideline, maybe don’t start flirty conversations with people when you are hurtling halfway down to hell in a tin can with no easy escape route? Anyway, right now I’m listening to the title track from Courtney Marie Andrew’s new album ‘May Your Kindness Remain‘. Since leaving her Arizona hometown at the tender age of 16, Andrews has toured relentlessly, even sleeping under bridges and busking on the street – experiences that are woven intrinsically into the fabric of the record as she recalls the people she’s met and her own childhood. With moody distorted guitar, orchestral percussion, and gospel inspired backing vocals, the richness of the track’s timbre provides a fittingly dramatic backdrop to Andrew’s embellished country style vocals. With her deeply narrative style of lyric writing harking back to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt, even the most staunchly anti-country-and-western among us will struggle not to be moved by this latest offering. Enjoy.

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