The Good Lovelies are in Montreal today on the last stop of their Christmas tour with the Vinyl Café. While I take the Dave Hemstad stance on Stewart McLean’s down home sentiment, I can easily endure the gorgeous harmonies Good Lovelies, especially at this time of year. Folky yet fresh, Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough, and Sue Passmore are excellent songwriters who find a silver lining on every cloud. Brooks and I talked about the tour while she was en route to Vancouver via ferry.
This year’s show is not the first time the Good Lovelies have traveled with Stewart & Co. “In 2010, we did a tour of the prairies and Northern Ontario with him and it was so much fun,” Brooks says. “It was great to get exposure to a wider audience. We have a great following, but the Vinyl Café is a well-known entity. Just earlier this year, they asked us back to do the Christmas tour which is their big tour of the year.”
Christmas tours are as traditional to the Good Lovelies as spiked nog is to a good office party. “Our band has a special relationship with Christmas,” Brooks explains, “Under the Mistletoe is our Christmas album and we do a Christmas tour every year.” Of course, touring with the Vinyl Café means that it isn’t just a Good Lovelies show, but as Brooks says, “We’ll play some places that have never seen our Christmas show before. Towns, cities, venues.”
In addition to their annual tour, Christmas is special to the Good Lovelies as their anniversary. “Our band’s first show technically was December 18th 2006,” says Brooks. “We performed as solo singer-songwriters in the round. But because it was Christmas time, we decided to sing some songs together, including God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
“We sang in harmony first time together on those tunes,” says Brooks, “The reaction was great. The blend was incredible. We looked at each other like ‘Whoa.’ We started at Christmas, and every year since, we do a show as a way to pay homage to how our band started.”
While touring might seem a bit of a downer at the holidays, Brooks couldn’t seem happier. “Right now, I’m staring at my best friends who are in the band with me, and one is carrying my 14 month old baby,” she says. “It’s not monetary riches, but emotional riches.”
“We feel very rewarded at the end of every day when we play in front of an audience,” she explains, “There’s no greater feeling. It’s amazing that we are able to do this for a living. We quit our jobs five years ago and every day we’re like ‘We’re making music for a living and seeing the world and feeling very, very blessed.’ We get to do with each other. I don’t know how solo artists do it. We share our lives together. We all have partners and we feel like a big family.”
As for the baby, “She’s been on the road since she was nine weeks,” says Brooks. “She’s still on the road with us. She’s been on the tour with us and the whole Vinyl Café team on the bus. She’s the first band baby.”
The Vinyl Café with The Good Lovelies is at Theatre Maisonneuve (Place Des Arts) on Dec 23. 7:30 p.m. $51/34.