Singer-songwriter Courtney Hartman clears her brain for the year ahead in her new song “January First,” premiering today via Rolling Stone Country. The introspective track is the first release from the former Della Mae guitarist’s solo debut album Ready Reckoner, out June 14th.
Instead of trying to make ironclad resolutions and being severely disappointed when they fall apart, Hartman’s “January First” sounds like an attempt to be a little more forgiving. “If I’m particularly ambitious, I’ll wake before the sun does,” she sings, but then acknowledges that it will probably be fine no matter what she does. With its sturdy rhythmic foundation, the song incorporates Hartman’s distinct, staccato acoustic guitar work and even gets a little experimental with some trebly, meandering piano that floats high in the mix.
“I wrote ‘January First’ from my floor on New Years Day 2017, needing to throw off the expectations I piled upon myself, the small disappointments and the never being enough,” says Hartman. “The song became my soft resolution to be unapologetic for who I am and how I move through the world — even when I fall asleep with the light switch on or eat out too much or don’t know how to love someone.
Hartman co-produced Ready Reckoner with Shahzad Ismaily, with Tucker Martine handling mixing duties. Many of the songs were inspired by a 40-day, 500-mile walking pilgrimage on Spain’s Camino de Santiago. The project follows recent collaborations for Hartman, including a John Hartford tribute with Robert Ellis (Dear John) and another album with Canadian singer-songwriter Taylor Ashton (Been on Your Side).