Sat., 6:05pm, Reverberation stage
Recently, back at her parents' house in Australia, Courtney Barnett stumbled upon a historic relic: a demo CD from when she first started performing music. Noting the aural revisit as "cringe-worthy, but also nice," the singer can't pin down the specific moment of courage a decade ago that pushed the shy 18-year-old to perform onstage after years of writing songs for herself.
"Every now and then, I have this burst of really optimistic, 'Go for it, or you'll never get anything done if you don't try,' kind of attitude. It happens, like, once every three years," she says. "I just found my own normal, kind of shitty voice, and went with that."
A reformed introvert, Barnett has remained humble despite her ascension to adored indie deity. The past year left her doused in critical acclaim for full-length debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, found her booked at big-name fests, and included a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. A sharp mind, unusual observations, and wicked sense of humor spill over into brainy lyrics that traverse personal roadways rather than fictional, all backed by unfussy, skuzzy, Nineties alt-rock guitar riffs.
While there's no concrete information about a follow-up to Sometimes I Sit – Barnett admits she isn't a planner – she has new material in the works. Sort of. Maybe.
"I think every day I'm of a different opinion," admits Barnett. "I've been writing a lot, but not proper writing. I've been writing on tour and on the go, and I don't think it's very focused. Sometimes, when I do have time, I look back through it and think it's great, and the next day I think it's terrible and I've got no songs, so it's kind of hard to tell.
"That's what I did with the last album as well. It got to be a week before recording and I wanted to scrap every song and start again, so it's hard to trust myself."