By Yankee Rose
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Fairchild in advance of her performance at Smith’s Ole Bar on Saturday night. Smith’s was the first stop in her six city solo tour that is covering both coasts, and the Atlanta Room provided an ideal setting to kick off the tour. After a great opening set by Atlanta local Jed Drummond, Courtney played through much of her new album, 11 Chances.
Courtney wrote every song on this album, a talent she has been working on since she was 13. When we discussed her attraction to songwriting, she told me that she loved to read and writing felt like a natural extension of that even as a young teenager. She must have been on to something, because while playing bars and traveling to Los Angeles to record her first albums, Courtney still managed to get her bachelors’ degree in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Dallas. A lot has changed over the years though. The Dallas native has relocated to Philadelphia (the former home of two A-listers). Her musical inspiration has changed as well, from the Indigo Girls, Tracy Chapman, and Paula Cole, to the likes of Joe Henry, Jim White, and Wilco.
One thing that has remained constant in Courtney’s career is her record label, Stanley Recordings. With the exception of her first album, Simple and Disordered, (which has since been reissued by Stanley), Stanley is fully responsible for all five Courtney Fairchild releases. She was introduced to this cool, independent, co-op label by another Texas native. Courtney and Stanley Recordings eventually relocated together to the City of Brotherly Love (also the home of 24 hour cheesesteaks and the largest Little Italy this side of Manhattan). This album was a reflection of that journey, and anyone who caught Courtney last Saturday could recognize the heart and soul she poured into these songs. When I asked Courtney what her favorite song on the album was, she didn’t pull out the current single “Circles”, or the cliché that they were all her favorite. Courtney told me that her favorite song was least likely to be a smash hit, but that writing “My Eyes Adjust” was her biggest songwriting struggle and the accomplishment of completing it made her so proud it had become her favorite. It was an absolute treat to speak to such a dedicated artist before her first visit to the ATL.