Courtney Marie Andrews – Tickets – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – January 20th, 2017

Courtney Marie Andrews

Soulful folk-pop songwriter from Arizona with excellent new album, Honest Life

Courtney Marie Andrews

Ryan Oxford, NICK DELFFS

Fri, January 20, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$12 ADV/DOS

This event is 21 and over

Mostly Standing / Limited Balcony Seats 

Courtney Marie Andrews
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, from Jimmy Eat World to 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 awhile, 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. Honest Life is out now from Mama Bird Recording Co.
Ryan Oxford
Growing up in rural Ohio, Ryan Oxford never really experienced any sort of formative music subculture. His friends back then were more likely to drive a tractor to school than to host house shows. He’d watch MTV’s 120 Minutes, but rarely connected with anything he heard. Instead, his interest grew independently from more personal experiences.
He remembers being strangely drawn to the smell of the old RCA turntable in the attic of his grandparents’ duplex. There was also the deep admiration he felt watching his dad embarrass his sister with shameless air guitar solos to Bowie’s “Five Years”. Perhaps that performance inspired his own debut - at age six, dancing to “These Boots Are Made for Walking” in front of his mom’s full-length mirror with an audience he didn’t exactly know was there.
As Oxford got older and moved away from home, this interest became an obsession. His self-education started in Akron, listening to salvaged, broken and moldy 45s at Jimi Imij’s unofficial Ohio Historical Music Society. From there, inspired by reading about how Brian Wilson stayed in the studio to write and record Pet Sounds while the rest of the Beach Boys were touring, he spent his entire tax return on an 8-track tape machine and taught himself the only way he knew how - by making mistake after mistake. Ten years later, Oxford’s a producer, composer and songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He lives in a loft above his studio, Color Therapy Recording, where he recorded, produced and mixed his debut album.
Fa Fa Fa Fired is a long time coming for Oxford, a testament to his determined, singular path. It’s full of twangy guitars, sassy backing vocals and the sweet hiss of reel-to-reel tape that he still can’t shake. The songs are playful, charming, melancholy and honest. They’re mostly about being dumb and in love and sometimes just about being dumb. The album was recorded with help from Dominik Schmidt and features Christian Blunda (Mean Jeans, Patsy's Rats), Nick Dewitt (Pretty Girls Make Graves), Scott Hartlaub (Jessica Lea Mayfield) and Arjan Miranda (Black Mountain, Strand of Oaks).
Fa Fa Fa Fired will be released by Mama Bird Recording Co. on January 27th.
NICK DELFFS
NICK DELFFS
Nick Delffs is a seeker. He’d never identify himself that way. He’s unassuming and self-effacing, careful to discuss song meanings and biographical details without indulgence or melodrama. Delffs cut his teeth playing basement shows in Portland a dozen years ago, just before that city’s cover was irreversibly blown. It was a time when being musically ambitious meant impressing other local musicians. You were a joke, in that world, if you proclaimed yourself an artist or promoted your band with any zeal. So Delffs would probably find “seeker” a rather grandiose title.

But Nick Delffs is, in fact, a seeker. He’s an old-school rustler of the human condition; a tireless navigator of social and spiritual landscapes; a genuinely curious and wide-eyed, mankind-enthusiast. Soon after meeting him, one gets the impression that Delffs could be dropped in some far corner of the Earth and he’d not only survive, but he’d make a lot of friends—maybe even start a new band. In both casual conversation and his songwriting, Delffs gravitates to the universal. That’s his search. His life’s work is in the identification and removal of our shared illusions. And that is, largely, what Delffs writes songs about. Songs come to him when he’s “feeling detached from the world but totally in love with it at the same time,” he says. “Mostly they come when I am patient and I don't need them or care about them too much.”

They happen to be pretty catchy songs. Delffs first emerged in 2003 as the frontman for the seminal Portland band The Shaky Hands, known for their jangly, pulsing and introspective songs and their high-energy live shows. The band would sign to the venerable Kill Rock Stars imprint and tour internationally with bands like The Shins and Meat Puppets.

The Shaky Hands went on hiatus in 2011, and the changes came fast and furious for Delffs. He released a stripped-down, self-titled EP as Death Songs. He became a father. He relocated to Idaho. He took odd jobs and worked as a landscaper. All the while, he was strengthening his musical chops by collaborating with artists like Luz Elena Mendoza (Y La Bamba) and Ali Clarys—both of whom play important roles on his new LP, Redesign.

Living in Boise, Delffs remained a beloved figure throughout the Northwest—traveling often and moonlighting in friends’ touring bands. Slowly, through collaboration and time off, the pressure of being a full-time songwriter subsided and a thrilling new confidence emerged in Delffs’ own work.

“I like to disassociate myself with being a songwriter,” he says. “I like to forget I even do it. In the past that would have freaked me out, but I have a healthier relationship with my songs now. It’s less codependent.”

Redesign is the first full-length album Delffs has ever released under his own name. He first shed the Death Songs moniker in 2015, when he unceremoniously dropped a four-track EP of fantastic story-songs simply titled Home Recordings, and last year Mama Bird released Delffs’ reworking of the traditional English Christmas carol, “As I Sat on a Sunny Bank”. But Redesign is a self-contained universe of songs that play with themes that, on the surface, seem at odds with one another: longing for nature (“Somewhere Wild”, an ode to off-the-grid living) and learning to take responsibility (“Song for Aja”, a sweet and percussive tune about Delffs’ now six-year-old son that recalls Cat Stevens and Paul Simon). Musically, these themes are stitched together by the album’s warm, organic production and Delffs’ playing—he’s behind every instrument on the record—but Delffs also connects those seemingly disparate dots under the heading of Redesign. Heading into wilderness provides the insight for dealing with life’s heaviness; the responsibility of being a parent is also an opportunity for endless imaginative self-exploration.

The title track, “Redesign,” was written during a rafting trip in Eastern Oregon. “I couldn't go for the full three days, so I went for one day and hiked back to my car alone,” Delffs says. “It took maybe nine hours, and I had no shoes, and there were rattlesnakes. I took naps, I sang in caves. I felt like I let a lot of things go on that walk.”

A redesign means “to change out the parts of yourself that don't work, or don't serve anyone,” Delffs explains. “And if you are changing and growing, your relationships have to as well. It seems like redesigning our relationship with the world—and staying open to change and curious about the future—is more important now than ever.”

This is what you can depend on from Nick Delffs. In a world of noise and madness, he will use his music to try and scratch at something human and real. Something helpful. Nick Delffs is a seeker. He shares his discoveries. Redesign is his greatest gift yet.

Redesign will be released on July 21st from Mama Bird Recording Co.