GOOD LOVELIES RETURN WITH ‘SHAPESHIFTERS’
You hear it a lot these days – the idea that something is greater than the sum of its parts – and yet there’s really no better way to describe the musical essence of the Good Lovelies.
Kerri Ough, Sue Passmore, and Caroline Brooks – immensely talented vocalists and songwriters in their own right; however, it’s their voices interwoven in harmony – powerful and pure, organic and inspiring – that elevates the Good Lovelies from impressive to peerless.
Over the course of their decade-plus career, they’ve covered plenty of stylistic ground, adding tinges of pop, roots, jazz, and even hip-hop to their country folk core at various points.
The trio first united in 2006 for a one-off performance and has since compiled a catalogue of four studio albums, a pair of EPs, a live album, and Christmas collection. Through it all, the unmistakable sound of their intertwined voices has been the sonic anchor, and that remains true as the Good Lovelies now look to push further into the mainstream with their most accessible and pop-influenced output to date.
Their upcoming collection offers a perfect balance between a more modern production style and the wholesome musical influences that have made them a household name over the years. What’s more, the songs themselves build on the Good Lovelies’ familiar foundation with a widespread appeal.
If what happens next goes according to plan, though, the Good Lovelies will see their profile propelled to new heights thanks to a contemplative creative approach and a new spin on the signature sound that’s earned them audiences and accolades the world over. The music, the album, and the trio – all are greater than the sum of their individual parts. Simply, that’s the Good Lovelies
The Good Lovelies are:
Lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars: Caroline Brooks
Lead vocals, keyboards, banjo, guitar: Kerri Ough
Lead vocals, percussion, guitar: Susan Passmore
Upright bass: MJ Dandeneau
Bass: Steve Zsirai
Drums: Mark Mariash
Piano: Robbie Grunwald
How did you meet?
Sue and Kerri first met in a grade 2/3 split class many moons ago. It wasn’t until Sue’s final year of high school where they really started to spend a lot of time together. They were in the same choir (La Jeunesse) for many years, and discovered a mutual love for songwriting and performing. Kerri accompanied Sue on some gigs in her hometown, and a big crowning performance moment for them was when they performed Alanis Morissette’s song “Uninvited” during an assembly honouring retiring teachers.
Sue and Caroline met in 2000, through a mutual friend Yvonne Howard (it occurred to us that this band wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Yvonne introducing these two women years ago.) Caroline and Sue were celebrating New Year’s Eve together, and drank copious amounts of booze together. Years later, Sue would open for Caroline and her sister’s band (The Brooks Sisters) CD release show.
Kerri and Caroline met through Sue a couple of years before the Good Lovelies began. A little known fact about our band: In Febraury 2004, we did our first show together – not as the Good Lovelies, but as three separate acts. Kerri, new to Toronto, opened the show and played a solo set. Caroline and Katherine (The Brooks Sisters) played next, performing songs from their debut album ‘Carport Sessions’ and Sue Passmore and her band closed the show with songs from her album 87 Miles. Eventually, December 2006 rolled around and the three of us happily set up another show as soloists, where we would back each other up on our solo material. That fateful night was the night the Good Lovelies were born. December 15, 2006 – our birthday.
How long have you been playing your instruments?
Caroline has been playing the guitar since she was six years old. When our band began she taught herself how to play mandolin, banjo and is now delving deeper into the world of the electric guitar and pedal boards.
Kerri has been playing the piano since she was six years old. When our band began she taught herself to play the guitar, banjo and electric bass. She is now also bringing an omnichord on stage with her.
Sue took piano lessons as a child, and picked up the guitar in her university years. When our band started she taught herself how to play bass, percussion and mandolin.
Where are you from?
Sue grew up in Cobourg, Ontario.
Kerri grew up outside of Port Hope, Ontario.
Caroline grew up in Whitby, Ontario.
Where do you live?
Sue lives in a little village in Ontario.
Kerri is in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Caroline resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Are you planning to have more kids?
That’s a question that comes up often. The quick answer is: we don’t know. What I we do know is that we fully support each others’ life dreams and goals whatever they may be and we will do whatever we can to make sure we can to accomplish them while also touring and being part of the Good Lovelies.
How much money do you make?
How much money do YOU make?
How do you decide who plays what on what songs?
Usually, the person who brought the song to the table chooses the instrument they will play and we work out together what instruments will best suit a live performance of that particular song. We often have guest players on our albums, so it’s always a fun challenge to take the bigger album sound and distill it into a three, four or five-piece set up for our live performances.
How do you share writing credits?
We are an equal opportunity band and share everything 33.3%. The 0.1% goes to the person who brought the song to the table. That goes for everything in our business. We all drive the tour van and we all share the duties of running a band. For the song writing credits, it’s important to us to share in the effort that goes into getting our music to the public. If it weren’t for the band, the songs we are writing wouldn’t be heard. We find that sharing ownership over all the music helps us invest into the performance of that song. We celebrate a song’s success together and we share in song’s failure together.
How did you choose your band name?
Oh, how we wish this was a more exciting answer like, “The Horribly Awfuls” was already taken, but in fact, The Good Lovelies was the name Sue chose to present our first show on December 15th, 2006 not knowing at the time that she had named our band…forever.
Did you go to university for music?
Sue went to York University for a degree in Fine Arts.
Kerri went to Western Universtiy for a degree in Music.
Caroline went to the University of Toronto for a degree in Environmental Studies.
What were your day jobs before you decided to pursue music full-time?
Sue worked at the Printing House doing graphic design and short run printing.
Kerri worked for the Government of Ontario, in the Communications Branch of the Ministry of Health Promotion.
Caroline worked for the University of Toronto in recruitment and admissions.
What do your partners think of your tour schedule?
We are fortunate enough to be a touring band full-time and our partners are all proud of our accomplishments. Being away from them isn’t easy, but we do our best to bring them on tour with us when we can.
Is this your full time job?
It sure is! Touring, recording, writing, practising music, and running the Good Lovelies business is our full-time job.
Do you write your songs together?
Typically each of brings a near-completed song to the table and presents it to the band. Then together, we work out any lyrics or melodies that need work, and work on whatever harmonies haven’t been already chosen. Sometimes a song comes to the table finished and all we have to do is learn it for stage. Sometimes the songs take waaaaayyyy longer to work through. The creative process is different for each of us, but it’s not a Good Lovelies song until we’ve all had our fingers in it.
How do you figure out your harmonies?
In the same way we choose the instruments we play, we work our harmonies out together, just by singing through a bunch of options in a room together. We don’t want all the songs to have the same harmonic structure so we play around with many different harmony techniques until we are satisfied with the final product.