'Rookie Dreaming' from Honest Life by Courtney Marie Andrews
Courtney Marie Andrews was new to me this year and might possibly have passed me by entirely were it not for a mention by Legends Of Country over on The Twitter. Interest piqued, I had myself a little listen to ‘Rookie Dreaming’ and instantly found myself head over heels. Now there is a distinct possibility that inclusion in this advent series is breaking the rules, since the Honest Life set first saw release in the USA in 2016. A UK release, however, did not surface until early 2017 so that’s all right then, isn’t it? And anyway, I make the rules up as I go along, so hey ho and on we go.
Some people have suggested that Honest Life is a little one-paced but I do not see that as a problem. I do not remember anyone levelling that criticism at Blue, for example. And no, Courtney is just a little bit too Country to be Joni and Honest Life is not quite even almost Blue (well what is?), but nevertheless its a tangential reference we ought not to completely ignore. Album opener ‘Rookie Dreamer’ is certainly one of the more marginally up-beat cuts on the record, and if you would be hard pressed to call it jaunty exactly, then it nevertheless saunters across the dance floor in a winking haze of whisky and petticoats. Rooted in the Americana of classic Country it is a song also that reaches transatlantic tendrils and acknowledges the universal essence of such soulful expressions. So we have references to “all the paintings in Paris” and “the sunrise in Barcelona”and if those are references tinged with a certain regret, it is a regret that holds within it the promise of future redemption.
‘Rookie Dreaming’ is about the slipping away of Youth and the entry into whatever comes after: That transition to adulthood that proves elusive to any definitive labelling. ‘Rookie Dreaming’ is the sound of a songwriter singing an acknowledgment of change; is a woman proclaiming both her independence and her sense of belonging to the world she moves through. ‘Rookie Dreaming’ slips though the cracks and illuminates the corners; puts down tentative anchors that might one day snag and hold but that for now are trailing and touching like fingers touched momentarily or lips brushed lightly on hair. Both it, and the entirety of Honest Life touched me deeply this year and have left me eager to hear what comes next.