“Put the sunlight underneath my skin / I’m in need of the best vitamin / I will give you something in return / Something of myself / A sunburn cannot come of this / I promise.”
As one third of the JUNO award-winning folk-pop trio Good Lovelies, Caroline Brooks, along with bandmates Sue Passmore and Kerri Ough, are no strangers to the GDW family, with their fabulous “B-Sides” EP being a recent feature on our pages this past May. For those of you that have been enjoying our musings for a while, you may recall that Caroline also provided guest vocals on Jim Bryson’s “Knights of 1000 Sleeps” single released just prior to the Labor Day weekend last year. In short, Caroline Marie Brooks (utilizing her middle name to avoid confusion with a similarly named artist in the US) has been hard at work during this current pandemic, but is not quite done just yet. No, Caroline recently shared exciting news of working on her first upcoming solo album, and is launching the lead single, “Vitamin” out into the world on this very special day (a little birdie tells us that somebody has a birthday today).
“4 o’clock it’s dark and still too soon / To feed the kids, so we wait for the moon / And I draw a picture of your face / With the plastic markers that they place / In my hand like gold / I feel so old and still so young / At the same time.”
While many of us struggle to find time for new challenges within our busy lives – not to mention being tested by a global pandemic, travel restrictions, lockdown constraints, to name a few – Caroline has been writing and producing new songs for herself, drawing inspiration from her upbringing in a close-knit, creative family, and from the one she now shares with her husband and two children. “I’ve been trying to capture that warm and nostalgic Sunday afternoon feeling in my writing lately,” she shares, noting how the various facets of her identity – mother, partner, musician, environmentalist, and community builder – are intertwined and inextricable from one another (Source: Artist Website).
“With November comes the constant grey / We locks ourselves inside and away / Under bed sheets sharing in the warmth / I fold myself into your arms / Where we make a list / Of all their charms / This is more than bliss / I promise you / There’s nothing more than this / I promise you / There’s nothing more than this / I promise.”
Co-produced with good friend Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards, Ken Yates), who is also credited with the mixing duties, and mastered by Heather Kirby (Celeigh Cardinal), both Caroline (vocals/guitar) and Jim (acoustic & electric guitars/synths) are joined by a strong studio ensemble to create this new music: Christine Bougie (lap steel), Joey Wright (mandolin), Ben Whiteley (upright bass), Mark Mariash (percussion), Joshua Van Tassel (drums), and Katherine McKenzie & Joy Brooks (harmonies). “Vitamin seeks to find beauty in the mundane day-to-day and the messiness of life in general, but particularly with young children,” shares Caroline. “There’s nothing more than this, truly, and I’m trying to hold on for dear life as the years are rushing by. It’s perfect.”
“It’s in the sigh, it’s in the way / We hold it together / Just one day at a time / Trying not to measure / One against the other.”
As much as I adore the music from Good Lovelies, prior to spinning this one for the first time, I had my fingers crossed for luck, ever hopeful that this would not be a simple spin-off of their recognizable sound. And upon hearing the soft, almost light-country tones that open, I could sense immediately that Caroline clearly wanted the same too. Her vocals defy those initial country vibes, however, delivered instead in a slow, yet melodic indie-pop style, narrating her tales against the soothing instrumentation and well-timed bursts of Christine’s lap steel. You can also be forgiven for second guessing that Sue and Kerri found a way to sneak into the studio once you hear the harmonies, but a fine-tuned ear quickly detects the differences that Katherine and Joy bring. If this were a Good Lovelies song, there would be bursts of keys and peppier pacing, but “Vitamin” has a much more casual rhythm, the timing slower and the lyrics delivered at a tempo that paints perfectly the nostalgic portrait Caroline sought to create. This is a wonderful debut solo offering, one that Caroline’s fans will want to hear many times, and will quickly expect more as further tunes become unveiled. Caroline’s debut solo album, “Everything at the Same Time” shall be released on September 24th, through Outside Music.
“Then the earth it tilts toward the sun / And we sing and we dance and we run / And mark their height upon the frame / This list of love in months and days / That started with a kiss / I hear you say / This is more than bliss / I promise you / There’s nothing more than this / I promise you / There’s nothing more than this / I promise.”
Photo Credit: Jen Squires