Courtney Barnett: 2018
Courtney Barnett with Carmel Holt (photo by Sarah Wardrop/WFUV)
The day after Australian singer, songwriter and shredder Courtney Barnett released her sophomore album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, she had a gig at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, a venue that's more intimate than the arenas and festivals that Barnett has been playing lately.
It's been just five years since Barnett first appeared on FUV's radar with 2013's The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas and she's become a star before our eyes. She's also put out a lot of music in that time, including her Grammy-nominated 2015 debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit and a 2017 collaboration with Kurt Vile, called Lotta Sea Lice. It's hard to comprehend that Tell Me How You Really Feel is only her second solo long player.
Somehow, none of this seems to have gone to her head either. Case in point: the new album's title comes from a refain in a song called “Crippling Self-Doubt and General Lack of Confidence.”
Barnett and I sat down just after soundcheck, in a cozy green room backstage, and we talked about the whirlwind of the last few years. She told me about meeting and working with the Breeders (including collaborating on each other’s albums this year), and how this new album differs from her earlier work, both in sound and approach. Barnett also revealed what her favorite track on the new album is and why and what songs she loved as a kid learning how to play the guitar.
[Recorded 5/19/18, by engineer Lili Huang]