Sound Off: DJ Dana on Courtney Marie Andrews, Source Victoria, and Sun Ghost

Categories: Sound Off

Clockwise from top left: DJ Dana, Courtney Marie Andrews, Sun Ghost, Source Victoria
Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly feature, Sound Off, in which Jason P. Woodbury is joined by a different guest each week to listen to and discuss three tracks from local Phoenix artists. If you would like your songs to be considered for future Sound Off columns, please email

Today's guest is DJ Dana, Phoenix's resident "Queen of Country," who handles the wheels of steel each Sunday night at Valley Fever, Tempe's country night at the Yucca Tap Room. DJ Dana graciously agreed (with only the promise of coffee when she arrived to entice her) to meet at the New Times building early Tuesday morning to listen to three new local tracks from Courtney Marie Andrews, Source Victoria, and Sun Ghost.

Valley Fever hosts The Whispering Pines (described by Dana as akin to early Eagles) and The James Parks Band this Sunday, November 13, at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe.

"Bumper in the Hail" is the first single from Phoenix-based songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews' upcoming album, No One's Slate Is Clean, scheduled for digital release on December 7, and physical release on January 1. Andrews recently was featured in Nylon Magazine's roundup of the Phoenix music scene, and has toured and recorded with Jimmy Eat World.

Up on the Sun: That was "Bumper in the Hail," by Courtney Marie Andrews. I'm trying to verify that it was produced by Jim Adkins. I'd be willing to bet it is; it sounded so much like classic Jimmy Eat World at the end.

[Update: Both No One's Slate is Clean and Slow Luck were produced by Chris Testa, who worked on Jimmy Eat World's Chase This Light.]

DJ Dana: I could hear the influence. It was good. Jim knows what he's doing.

Whether or not it was produced by Adkins, she's been touring as a member of Jimmy Eat World. She played with them on Conan, I saw her at Coachella this year.

It's a pretty song.

I liked the line "My mind is the critic that has nothing to complain about." I always love when songs talk about critics. It's like, "Hey, that's what I do."

Maybe the song is about you.

I would assume. I generally assume every song is about me [laughs]. Songs that single out the critics usually aren't saying nice things. It's like, "Screw the critics." It builds toward that big crescendo at the end, kind of that rock 'n' roll part, and I liked that.

[It's] very current. This is what people seem to be listening to. What is interesting to me is the evolution of the female singer/songwriter. From the folk singer thing of the '60s to what was going on in the '90s to what's going on now. Even the pronunciation of her words -- that's why I asked you where she's from. The way she pronounces her words . . . it's almost like every female singer has that same accent. I'm always curious how that happens, like how in the actresses from the '60s they all have that same lilt, but I don't know where it comes from.

It's not geographic. It's like, this is how you sound when you do this.

But it's changed over the years.

Yeah, I mean, some people would classify this as "folk," but this isn't what I think of when I think of folk.

No, I don't think it's folk, but her voice reminds me of a folk singer's.

Sort of Joni Mitchell.

And Joan Baez.

She's got that. When people describe her music as "folk," that's the element they're talking about: her voice. She has a classic folky voice.

Great, great voice.

Kind of a Greenwich Village thing. A little Karen Dalton. But arrangement-wise, this owes a lot to Jimmy Eat World and post-rock. This is the first song released from the record, and I wouldn't be surprised if this record is generally bigger and more auspicious than her former releases. Sounds like she's going for a big, giant sound.

I haven't heard her last album. Is it sparser?

Yeah. There are some nice arrangements on it, too, but this is definitely a step into that world. I can only assume that if you're hanging around Jimmy Eat World, that's something that's going to rub off. Those guys don't write small songs.

That's true. They have a big, big sound.

Courtney Marie Andrews is scheduled to perform Wednesday, December 28, at Crescent Ballroom.

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