- Lili Waters
- With Hachiku, Saturday, Feb. 8, 9 p.m., 333 Wonderview Ave., Estes Park, ages 16+, check stanleylive.com for ticket prices and availability
In the five years since Melbourne artist Courtney Barnett first wowed crowds at SXSW, her music has continually defied easy categorization. When she wants to, Barnett can come across like an electric guitar-wielding Patti Smith, but with poppier choruses and some nice left-handed, finger-picked feedback solos. Or she can take a more low-key approach, embracing the artistry of Americana musicians like Gillian Welch, whose classic Time (The Revelator) album is in regular rotation in Barnett’s tour van. And then there’s the retro-pop element that sometimes surfaces, especially on her collaborative album, and subsequent tour, with Kurt Vile, which earned favorable comparisons to classic Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.
That said, there are still constants to be found: Barnett’s vocal style is refreshingly unaffected. Her choruses are undeniably hooky. And her lyrics, on songs like “Crippling Self Doubt and a General Lack of Self-Confidence,” and “I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch,” are as devoid of cliché as their titles.
Barnett is also, according to reliable sources, both modest and self-deprecating. In a review of her 2018 sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel, The New York Times complimented her “self-deprecating narratives” and “modest tone.” The Chicago Tribune, not to be outdone, praised her “self-deprecating modesty” and declared her a “modest master of rock guitar,” in an article headlined “Courtney Barnett lets modesty, empathy rule.”
Barnett’s talents, on the other hand, are anything but modest, which she’ll once again prove at the haunted Stanley Hotel, where it’ll just be the musician, her faithful Stratocaster, and those spooky twins at the end of the hallway.