The story, of our recorded music, as best I can remember it:
With reckless abandon we took to Caroline’s parents’ basement recording studio with our friend and long-time producer Adam King to record 5 songs that would become our first EP: Oh My. We wanted to make a CD and nothing was going to stop us. And even though one song on that EP is called Honeybunion and another Whiskey – literally about being drunk in our 20s – it also holds our song Taboo that connected us to CBC Radio and the Vinyl Cafe for the first time and track 3, February Song, was the song that brought us to Les Cooper – who would become a core part of our band’s life, and the producer of our next album, Good Lovelies.
Our little EP accompanied us to our first two festival appearances: the Ottawa Folk Festival and Shelter Valley Festival in 2007. Photography for the album was done by Sue’s Dad, and Sue did the layout and design. It was recorded in Caroline’s parents’ home studio – it was a passion project and involved our families so fully, how could we not be grateful for it? And with that piece of recorded work, we were a band, and as a band we were emboldened to tour more and to risk more.
Next came our album Good Lovelies and it was a huge leap in terms of risk and reward from that little EP. FACTOR Canada awarded us our first recording loan and we were beside ourselves with joy. They saw in us something we didn’t even know we had yet and we took that money and put it toward working with the producers we wanted (Les Cooper) and our engineer and producer (Adam King), some of our favourite musicians (Christine Bougie, Marc Rogers, Joel Stouffer, Darcy Yates, Drew Jurecka, Spencer Evans, Michael Davidson, Justine Rutledge) It was the record we made at Canterbury Studios in Toronto – one of the best studios I’ve ever stepped foot it, and just down the road from where we lived. That album connected us to Matt Barnes (photographer extraordinaire) and Shelley “Lady” Hayes (stylist/artist) who came up with one of the best album covers of all time (in my opinion) Am I biased? Yes. But am I right? Also yes.) Wearing tutus and corsets, staring off into the distance, and buried in dirt – the album was launched.
That album got us a Juno nomination and in April 2010, a Juno award. We were shocked, awed, and out touring like crazy. That album lead perfectly into Let the Rain Fall where we basically had the pleasure of working with the same team again. This time, we decided to up the ante and record a Good Lovelies rendition of the hip-hop song Crabbuckit by k-os. That song reached the ears of listeners in Europe, Australia, the UK and beyond. I think that’s when we started noticing we had people from all over the world buying our CDs.
Next came our Christmas album: Under the Mistletoe. We made it in Adam King’s home/studio – recorded vocals in his kitchen. We wanted everyone we knew and loved to be on that album. First we hired Brian Kobayakawa to play bass on 11 tracks and Paul Mathew on bass for 2 tracks. Then Treasa Levasseur on accordion and Paul Reddick on Harmonica. Spencer Evans played clarinet, Michael Davidson on Vibraphone, Jenny Mitchell on Omnichord, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, Chris Coole on banjo, Mark Pellizzer on electric guitar, Christine Bougie on drums and lap steel, Les Cooper on guitars and mandolin, Adam King on drums, pianos and guitars. This album was made in celebration of our band’s beginnings around Christmas time in 2006. With no plan or strategy, we just made an album we loved, with holiday songs that meant something to us, and wrote three of our own – and now we tour a Christmas tour every year that is growing beyond what we ever envisioned – and the album has connected us with listeners everywhere. They find out about us through Under the Mistletoe and then dive into our original tunes.
In 2012 we made Live at Revolution in Toronto. It captures perfectly that time in our lives, when we basically toured 150-200 shows for two years straight. Our live show was everything: the music, the banter, Paul Mathew on tour with us non-stop – and the album also features our favourite: Christine Bougie.
Burn the Plan was next, and that was when our sound started to shift both on our albums and on stage. We were drawn to our electronic instruments more, and wanted drums to be part of our songs. By the time it came out we were true road warriors. We hired Robbie Grunwald, Adam Warner, Steve Zsirai and Christine Bougie to be our backing back for Burn the Plan and they lifted our songs up into a new place. Jud Haynes did the artwork, and not just cover artwork. He designed a piece of artwork to go with each of the 13 songs on the album. It’s a beautiful record to hold in your hands (and takes quite a lot of space on my shelf, compared with many other CDs next to it.) I think I speak for all three of us when I say that album is one of our proudest works.
In the middle of our Burn the Plan tour, we hit the studio to record an EP of winter-themed songs, called Winter’s Calling. It was a nod to our Christmas Tour with the Vinyl Cafe in 2013 where we performed “Winter Song” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles – and a way to give back to our fans who have been asking for another Christmas CD. We’re not ready for that just yet, so this EP seemed like the perfect solution.
And here we are with our eighth album, that is officially released into the world today. Shapeshifters is something new. For you, and for us. We made it with Dan Ledwell in his gorgeous studio. Michael Belyea and Kyle Cunjak play drums and bass, Kinley Dowling plays strings and Christine Bougie (who has been on 7 of 8 of our albums) plays lap steel on this album. We co-wrote with Robyn Dell’Unto, Peter Katz and Les Cooper, the artwork and design was done by Roberta Landreth and the photography by Nikki Ormerod. There are so many other people behind the scenes working this album for us, Tyler, Beth, Yvonne, Aurora and Keely to name a few.
Our work is to write, record and perform music, but why we do it is to connect with people. We have this loyal group of fans and supporters who have assured us while we’ve been out promoting this new album that they are on board with our shift in sound. They hear us in the music, no matter what sounds accompany us – and we’ve been happy to hear that so far. We are still us, but bolder. We are still us, but older. We are working hard to make music we care about, and music we care about sharing with you. We hope it resonates with you too. We
We’ve been asked a few times if we’d change anything about the last eleven years, or if we regret anything from our band’s life. And my honest answer is this: if you change one thing from your past, you risk changing everything that followed. Even now, looking back, smiling and shaking my head at my/our younger selves, I wouldn’t change a thing… not even how I dressed for stage, flip flops and all.
Some Good Lovelies Stats
11 years as a band
4 studio albums
1 live album
1 Christmas album