Sometimes recordings result from carefully made plans; sometimes they come about through fortuitous serendipity.
Louise Goffin’s latest single, “Revenge”, is one that arrived because of wonderful happenstance. In fact, it came about because of The Band. In March of 2017, Goffin was part of a star-studded Band tribute concert held in Los Angeles to raise funds for the non-profit Wild Honey Foundation. Backstage, she met her fellow performer, the young North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Skylar Gudasz. Bonding immediately, they decided to try writing a song together.
When the two met up later at Goffin’s L.A. house, Gudasz showed up with a guitar riff and Goffin brought a lot of lyrics. It was, as Goffin recalls, “a fast match,” with the rest of the chords, lyrics, and melody quickly falling into place. Excited with their new tune, Goffin suggested demoing it in her backyard studio, a place Gudasz fondly describes as “a magic treehouse.” The two proceeded to work up the vocal arrangements, and Goffin put down the keyboard, baritone bass, guitar and drum tracks, while Gudasz added in some slide guitar.
In a mere day, they wrote and recorded “Revenge,” a glam-swirled pop gem that is wrapped with dark intrigue. Goffin’s keyboard and bass lines nicely enrich Gudasz’s original guitar riff that inspired the song. The two trade off on singing the verses and blend their voices in lovely harmonies that mask the ominous tale lurking within the lyrics. “Revenge” is set for release October 20 on Goffin’s own Majority of One Records.
Gudasz and Goffin found working together to be a super easy and quite perfect experience. One reason for their successful teamwork, according to Gudasz, was that they operated in a “leave the egos at the door” space. Goffin finds this type of collaboration important particularly for female artists because she feels it is vital for women to “be expressing themselves and be respected for what they can bring to the table.”
“Revenge” represents just one example of the highly creative period Goffin is experiencing. She spent much of the past year recording with four-time Grammy winning producer/engineer Dave Way. They have so far co-produced 24 tracks, which Goffin considers her best work to date. She is thrilled too over the amazing guest musicians, including Rufus Wainwright, Chris Difford (Squeeze), keyboardist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty), drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), guitarist Ben Peeler (Shelby Lynne), and award-winning musician Billy Harvey, who have contributed to these sessions. Plans are to put these songs out as part of a digital singles series; visit http://www.louisegoffin.com for updates.
For the “Revenge” digital single, Goffin picked “Bird of Paradise” for the B-side. She recorded this Pat Macdonald tune for his recently released Begging His Graces: Songs & Sins Vol. 3. This on-going CD series salutes the Timbuk3 co-founder (of “The Future’s So Bright” fame) along with supporting his Steel Bridge Songfest project. “Bird of Paradise,” in fact, was chosen as the CD’s leadoff track. MacDonald praised Goffin’s singing, calling her rendition “the perfect opener … the female character is better at putting the male superhero cliché́ in his place than I — or any guy — could be … and I love those strings lending their magnificence to the dude’s gentle fall from grace.”
This digital single also exemplifies how Goffin loves her ability now to get her music out quickly and be heard. Her determination to “make music and share it” stems greatly from her frustrating experiences in the major label world. Although she released her debut album, Kid Blue, while still a teenager and was the youngest artist on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack, she was frustrated with lag time between delivering a record and their release when she was with major labels. Goffin reveals that she turned in the music for (what turned out to be) her last major label album, Sometimes a Circle, in 1999, but the CD didn’t come out until 2002. Goffin did keep busy, however. She toured with Tears for Fears as a guitarist and played with Bryan Ferry. Her songs were recorded by the likes of Paul Thorn, Shawn Colvin, Terry Reid, John Parish, and her mother, Carole King. Goffin also dueted with her mom on the theme song for the hit TV show Gilmore Girls.
Since starting her own label, Majority of One, around a decade ago, Goffin has been even more productive, putting out four well-regarded CDs, three of which came out within a year of one another, Bad Little Animals (2008), Songs From the Mine (2014), Appleonfire (2015) and The Essential Louise Goffin Vol 1. (2016), which mixed several new tunes with tracks from her three prior albums.
Appleonfire was inspired by, and a tribute to, her father, the great songwriter Gerry Goffin, who passed away in 2014. The disc features three songs co-written by her dad, one song she co-wrote with him, and two of her originals. She has worked with her mother during the past decade too, producing King’s 2011 Grammy-nominated A Holiday Carole CD, which Goffin says was a truly fun collaborative time.
Goffin’s music biz adventures also inspired her in the past few years to lead master classes. More than just giving a lesson in songwriting, Goffin shares the wisdom of her professional experiences, while trying to save others from the pitfalls that she encountered. Among the messages that she imparts: people waste a lot of time seeking external assistance and approval, and they really need just to take the reins of their career and “create their own momentum.”
With the release of “Revenge”, Goffin is heeding her own advice. She produced the track and played all the instruments except for Gudasz’s guitar work. Her hands-on approach also includes her involvement with the videos, marketing, and tour plans. With more new material ready to roll, Goffin is creating the momentum to make 2018 a milestone year.