The Good Lovelies: Descriptively Defined
It takes a certain confidence to dub one’s band the Good Lovelies, but in the case of this particular Canadian combo, that assurance is well warranted. Since their formation nearly a decade ago, this affecting trio has ascended to the highest tiers of Canada’s contemporary folk music scene, as affirmed by the fact that they’ve accorded a Juno and several Canadian Folk Music Awards, along with praise from fans and critics both at home and abroad. Their latest album, Burn The Plan, continues the momentum kick started by their previous effort, 2011’s critically acclaimed Let The Rain Fall, while broadening their musical palette well beyond the traditional trappings explored before. Consequently, it’s hardly surprising that this threesome — Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough, and Sue Passmore — should feel justified in acceding to their musical whims.
“For Burn the Plan, our musical inspirations have widened considerably,” Brooks insists. “We have always listened to a broad range of musical styles, from straight-up pop to Americana, jazz, country, hip-hop and everything in between. We allowed ourselves to delve into some of those genres on this album, without overthinking our previous sound.”
That said, there’s clearly a joy and exuberance evident in every album by the Good Lovelies, a feeling of kinship they’ve never attempted to suppress. “The three of us have always felt strongly about being upbeat and looking at life through a positive lens,” Brooks says. “Our band started joyfully and spontaneously. We were friends first, and we’ve had so much fun making music and being together. We were inspired by a lot of old-time/bluegrass and Western swing, as it lent itself to our tight, three-part harmony vocals. A lot of that music is uplifting, happy and upbeat … so it was a natural fit.”
It all comes back to that clarity and confidence, which inspired the three to quit their day jobs and pursue their music full time. “It was a great leap of faith, and certainly those early years had moments where we thought, ‘What have we done!?’” Brooks recalls. “We’ve seen a lot of changes, career-wise, in the last 6 years — bigger venues, a wider audience, international recognition, management support through Six Shooter Records and the freedom to rely on music for our living. That’s a huge dream fulfilled right there.”
That’s evident on the new album, although the group insists the evolution came as a result of a natural transition, rather than anything that was plotted or pre-planned. “We didn’t want to worry about how the new album would be received with this new production and sound,” Brooks maintains. “We just wanted to be true to ourselves, at this particular point of our lives.”
“We looked at this album a little differently from our past ones, though I wouldn’t say it was intentional at first,” she continues. “We simply saw Burn the Plan as an opportunity to write songs for ourselves as opposed to having it fit into a sound that people have come to expect from the Good Lovelies. You’ll hear that in the production. The songs are less old-timey, less Western swing than our previous albums. This one certainly has elements of pop and country that you might not have heard from us before! However, it’s not an incredible stretch. Harmonies are still front and center. Our sound was born in those harmonies, so you’ll still hear Good Lovelies in there.”
Ultimately, that’s as good and lovely as it gets.