MORRISBURG – It was easy to hear the enthusiasm, the joy in Kerri Ough’s voice, during an interview with The Leader, when she talked about returning to the live concert stage.
She and fellow singers/musicians/lyricists Caroline Brooks and Susan Passmore, better known to their legions of fans as the phenomenal Good Lovelies, are finally coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, May 7 at 7 pm.
It is a concert eager fans have been waiting for since 2020, when COVID cancelled the SLAS season. And the Good Lovelies are equally thrilled to finally be coming to the Playhouse. As Kerri expressed it, “Standing on a stage is magic. This is what we love.”
The Good Lovelies, who have always called themselves a “touring band,” formed in 2006. They won a Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year in 2010, and their 2018 song, ‘I See Gold’ hit #1 on the CBC Music Charts and earned the band a SOCAN Music Award.
Consequently, COVID shutdowns hit them hard. They went from 80 shows a year to 10 digital shows. “In some ways we were lucky,” Kerri said. “On line audiences still tuned in, and the three of us stayed connected, sharing our lives, because we are each other’s best friends. But things you had taken for granted were suddenly just gone when COVID struck.”
Now that the world is re-opening, and concert engagements are swiftly mounting, the Good Lovelies are thrilled to be re-establishing a strong connection with live audiences. “Playing to an empty room, a monitor, or to one other person is oddly exhausting. My husband has been my sole audience for two years: frankly he’s ready for me to go back out on the road,” Kerri laughed.
Noted for their stunning harmonies, and their inspired song-writing, the trio is currently engaged in creating a new album. Kerri talked about what makes the Good Lovelies so unique, so loved by fans.
“I think we are willing to go down different roads when we make music. Our Good Lovelies sound is built upon us singing in harmony, and we switch those harmonies around. We really want listeners to feel better, after one of our concerts, than they did when they came in. Ours is, you might say, a roots sound that involves some interesting ‘instruments’ – the actual voices we each bring to a song. After all, the voice really is a complex instrument: we hope to create textures with our voices, to build layer on layer in the music. Our voices are both our chords and our instruments and our interpretations create our uniqueness. With us, everything musical is on the table.”
When it comes to songwriting, their music is often a reflection of what the three artists are living through, “our joys and sorrows, whether collectively or singly. We look at personal experiences, our hopes, our despairs, even our love songs. (‘My husband is a theme for me,’ she laughed.) We honour each other, keeping our friendships strong and vital, writing together and then connecting together with our audiences.”
The Good Lovelies are thrilled to be coming to the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. “We’re playing as a roots trio, telling our stories in concert,” Kerri said. “We will harmonize: maybe even invite some sing alongs during the evening.” With an Ontario tour in the works, a US tour, and a tour booked for Europe Kerri observed, laughing, that hers, Caroline’s and Susan’s “touring muscles are definitely getting a workout…finally.”
Opening for the Good Lovelies on Saturday night, is a young artist that Kerri describes as the creator of “beautiful songs, with a very interesting voice. We look forward to hearing her set.”
Scottish born artist Evangeline Gentle observed that “I’ve been singing all my life. I think I could sing before I could talk. And I began performing professionally in cafes and bars at age 14. I always knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life: music is my vocation.”
She, too, is eager to be back on the stage after COVID. While she was able to record an album over the shutdowns, “it just feels so good to be out there: nothing compares to the energy of a live audience and to sharing it.”
Blessed with what Sandra Whitworth of the SLAS calls “beautiful vocals”, and a voice described as “sweet and lush,” Evangeline calls her personal style “a bit contemporary, but maybe with a little pop and folk mixed in. I play piano and guitar, but my voice is my instrument. I write about strength, about the way people need to be connected to their emotions. I write about love – friends, family, romantic – because human connections interest me. As I wrote in one of my songs, “the very strongest people/ have tender hearts.”
Fellow artist, guitarist Nick Ferrio, will be joining Evangeline on stage. “We have been together since 2018, and we’ll both sing and play guitar for this show.” She is happy to be opening for the Good Lovelies. “Caroline has been very supportive of my music.” Evangeline is also looking forward to a new release coming out soon, and to being back on the road performing at several festivals. “But I have been waiting two years for this Morrisburg show.”
Don’t miss the Good Lovelies with Evangeline Gentle, Saturday, May 7, at Upper Canada Playhouse.