Good Lovelies: Live At The Westdale Theatre

Good Lovelies

It is not often we have an opportunity to attend two concerts in two different venues on the same day, so when the cards fall in our favor, we take full advantage of such good fortune. During our most recent visit to Hamilton, ON, we wrapped up a matinee show at The Casbah (Stephen Stanley Band) and took a short drive across Highway 403 to the residential neighborhood of Westdale for an evening event with the JUNO-Award winning folk-pop vocal trio, Good Lovelies. 

Aside from catching up with band member Caroline Marie Brooks during a solo festival workshop in 2022, our last encounter with Good Lovelies dated back to 2018 – which, coincidentally, was the same summer location/event where we also last enjoyed music from Stephen Stanley – small world, huh? No matter what, an evening with this talented trio of Caroline Brooks (guitar/vocals), Kerri Ough (banjo/guitar/vocals) and Sue Passmore (keys/bass/percussion/vocals) was also long overdue – and landing perfectly on the US Memorial Day long weekend made this show unmissable. 

Walking down the aisle of the main auditorium amidst a sea of cheers, whistles and applause, the trio made their way to the stage and launched immediately into “In the Morning,” an older tune found on their 2015 “Burn the Plan” album. Shortly after, the ladies were eager to address the packed (and welcoming) room at the Westdale Theatre. “It’s so nice to see you all,” Caroline offered. “We were reminiscing today about the many places that we have played in Hamilton. From the Pearl Company to Bridgeworks, and to here, what an amazing theatre.” “Is this anybody’s first Good Lovelies show,” Kerri would ask, observing a decent show of hands in response. “Thank you for coming for the first time and thank you for those of you returning and bringing new friends.” 

Good Lovelies

Not to dismiss their 2021 “B-Sides” 3-track EP and their 2019 “Evergreen” holiday album, the last regular full-length album from Good Lovelies can be traced back to their 2018 “Shapeshifters” release – with the trio performing their hit single “I See Gold “(nominated for Best Song as the Independent Folk Music Awards) much to the delight of the room. So, we were naturally excited last year when the trio announced their new album, “We Will Never Be The Same” (a GDW 2023 Top 20 Album of the Year finalist), and having spun this record on our turntable many times since its release, we had a bucket list of songs we hoped to hear on this evening in The Hammer. With ten of the twelve album tracks making the set list, there was never going to be any possibility of disappointment. 

“We’re here tonight celebrating our brand-new record. It came out on October sixth, and it came out the same day our faces appeared on the billboard at Yonge & Dundas Square,” Kerri shared. “That was the first time that ever happened, and if you want a picture of rotating ads for music, it was basically Good Lovelies and Drake.” The crowd were intrigued, as Caroline continued the conversational thread. “We are like working on our own mythology of a Good Lovelies-Drake feud,” she shared, eliciting laughter. “Watch out Kendrick Lamar, here come the Good Lovelies. Can you imagine? I can.” “So, right after the record came out, we went from Winnipeg to Vancouver and to Whitehorse, and skipped over Ontario,” Kerri added. “And came home and did a tour of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI, and skipped over Ontario. And then we went to England and Ireland and Scotland, and it was partly so we could save the best for last – ending up back in Ontario for these shows.” 

Good Lovelies

A quick glance at the songwriting credits in the liner notes on the new album demonstrates that Good Lovelies are clearly rooted in the There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ camp – with all but one of these latest tunes attributed to a collective songwriting effort. Born during the pandemic-imposed period of isolation, quite often it is only when you hear which of the three ladies takes the vocal lead on a particular track that you learn of its origins. Take, for example, Kerri’s lead on the gorgeous ballad “Baby I (Say What You Need),” with Caroline reciprocating on “Young At Heart.” Sue offers the same with “Keep Moving” – this being that one track that offers an additional songwriting credit to Robyn Dell’Unto – with these tunes elevated beautifully by the trio’s core 3-part harmonies that continue to shine. As for those harmonies, we took great pleasure in witnessing those voices a cappella front and center stage, as they ladies delivered “Heebie Jeebies” (almost Andrews Sisters style) followed later by an unplugged cover of the Johnny Cash hit “Wayfaring Stranger.” 

Let it be known, however, that it is not solely the music that brings crowds back to see this trio time and time again – it is also their humble, yet playful and endearing personalities that form instant connections to those in the audience – and on this given evening, they were armed with plenty of humorous tales from their journeys to date. “I’ve been having unusual feeling today, like extra nerves, and I’ve realized what it is,” Caroline offered, before referencing the small community in which she grew up. “The only place to go for first dates was the movie theatre, and the smell in here – it’s bringing me back! And it’s not all good!”  

Laughter bounced around the room, before Kerri continued. “It’s partly good, it’s not so good. Sue’s having some deep thoughts about popcorn right now.” Handing the conversational baton, Sue would pick up the thread. “I was just thinking of [something] we heard just the other day when this woman – she came to our show – she told us after the show that she’d been on the first date and the guy talked so much about Good Lovelies that it kinda made it a bit awkward.” “She said I love your music, but he likes you way too much,” Caroline added. “And then she told us his name and what shows he’s coming to.” 

Good Lovelies

With their natural flair for good hearted humor, if pressed, I would have to give Kerri props for the funniest gag of the evening (even though Sue’s tale about her son’s feelings for school these days, and Caroline’s tale of dumping a boyfriend when the man of her dreams finally paid attention were both hilarious). “This next song is from our first record, and when we were first a band, we’d start googling our band name to see if it showed up anywhere, and it turned out that someone in Germany had used this song as a backdrop to a German dog training video,” Kerri commenced. “This song is called Lie Down” – audience roars with laughter – “and I wrote it for my husband. He is not a dog!” 

Performing a 90-minute set (with intermission), the crowd at the Westdale Theatre were not willing to let the three ladies retire for the evening following their closing performance of “Young At Heart,” and with a return to the stage, the trio dug deep into their back catalogue to share their popular cover of the K-os hit, “Crabbuckit,” from their 2015 “Let The Rain Fall” album. A fabulous way to cap our two-concerts-in-one-day adventure, and a trio we would love to catch up with again much sooner next time around. 

Set List: 

  1. In The Morning 
  2. I See Gold 
  3. Not A Lost Cause
  4. Baby I (Say What You Need)
  5. All My Days 
  6. Blurry Days 
  7. Find Our Way Home 
  8. Heebie Jeebies (unplugged)
  9. Keep Moving 
  10. Kiss Me In The Kitchen 
  11. Lie Down 
  12. Waiting For You 
  13. Wayfaring Stranger (Johnny Cash cover – unplugged) 
  14. Wilderness 
  15. I Should Tell You More 
  16. Tip To Toe 
  17. Young At Heart


  1. Crabbuckit (K-os cover) 

Photo Credit: Artist Website/Jen Squires (Tour Poster) 

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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