Laying in the grass listening to Arthur Russell: Courtney Barnett's approach to life, and her new album
"Rae Street" is the first song on Courtney Barnett's new album. It also marked the beginning of a chapter of her new life. Courtney told me she wasn't living particularly anywhere at the time and her friend let her take over the lease of a house on Rae Street, a sleepy suburban street in Melbourne, Australia.
"I drag a chair over to the window / and watch what's going on / the garbage truck tip-toes up the road," she sings in "Rae Street." It was the first time that Barnett had ever lived alone, and she was even more alone because it was the beginning of the Covid lockdown. She includes many observations of Rae Street in her new album, "Things Take Time, Take Time," but she saved one for me.
"I have a distinct memory of laying in the grass..." She said she would go to the park down the street with her headphones on "...and listen to Arthur Russell." It's no coincidence that when she took the stage at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee last week that she came out to an Arthur Russell song. She says his music is unpredictable, romantic, and calming. Which is also the sound she wanted to create on her new album. She wanted something comforting and beautiful. Something you could lay in the grass on a sleepy street in Melbourne and soak in the sun to. And I think she's done it.
Watch our interview below.