GOOD LOVELIES RETURN WITH BURN THE PLAN NEW ALBUM
You’ve got a plan. It’s yours to make. It’s yours to break. You can own it, spin it, build it and smash it. You can write it down. You can shake it up. You can change your mind. You can burn the plan.
With Burn The Plan a long-awaited new album, Good Lovelies are both fulfilling and defying their so-called musical destiny as a “folk trio.” What makes this Burn The Plan special is that the band’s considerable strengths – winsome songwriting, impeccable vocals, and triangulated charisma – don’t tell the full story. There’s a new spirit of adventurousness that gives Burn The Plan an extra spark; the album is permeated with textures and tones from musical worlds away.
The eye-opening “In The Morning” has a delicate electronic touch that is more Postal Service than McGarrigle. “Waiting For You,” the most radio-ready of the collection, is an up-tempo, shimmering keyboard-laced number that would fit comfortably alongside the soft pop throwback of HAIM. Good Lovelies explore their inner Grimm with “The Doe,” which, like all good fairytales, is one part enchanting and one part chilling. Even the old time underpinnings of “Old Fashioned” and “When the City Settles” have a new polish, confidence and depth.
This time around, the trio has spent time developing, expanding and honing their sound as musicians first, and as Good Lovelies second. These new songs were crafted not to ‘fit’ the band’s catalogue per se, but to exercise some autonomy from the confines of genre and tradition. The band is still playing, but not always to type, you might say.
Burn The Plan is a study in how individual voices find common ground in such a tight-knit group dynamic. What keeps the three Lovelies making music together is not just their uncanny vocal compatibility; it’s their unshakeable friendships, which supports each member contributing to the songwriting in distinct ways. The story behind Burn The Plan is something of a contradiction – while each Lovely contributed their most personal songs to date, each song is filtered through a unique process of collaboration that characterizes the band’s entire M.O, where the final result is really and truly equal.
2011’s Juno-nominated Let The Rain Fall was the last time the Good Lovelies released a full-length studio album. It may not feel so long ago, since the band’s profile has continued to grow with awards, steady and sold-out touring, and a live album in between, but you can do a whole lotta living, loving and letting go in four years. For Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore, four years has been the exact number of hours, moments and experiences needed to take the next step, to burn the plan.
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 her new solo music. Caroline and Katherine (The Brooks Sisters) played next, performing songs from their debut album. And Sue, with 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 a show as soloists, where we would perform on each others’ songs. 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 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 when she was in university. 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 just outside of Port Hope, Ontario.
Caroline grew up in Whitby, Ontario.
Where do you live?
Sue is temporarily residing in Victoria, BC on a mini-adventure.
Kerri is in St. John’s, Newfoundland for the foreseeable future.
Caroline is holding down the fort in our home province, and 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?
Um… I don’t know, 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 or four-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 songs’ original writer. 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 selected to present our first show on December 15th not knowing yet that it would become our band name (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 in Toronto 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 have incredibly supportive partners. We are fortunate enough to be a touring band full-time and they are all proud of our accomplishments. Being apart from them isn’t easy, but we do our best to sneak them in our suitcases and bring them on tour with us when can, and when they can take time away from their busy schedules to join us.
Is this your full time job?
Yep! It sure is! Touring, recording, writing, practising music, and running the Good Lovelies 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 select the instruments to 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.