Louise Goffin Wishes You a ‘Good Life’

Not many things are better than finding a record that makes you feel like old friends within a couple of listens.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it usually happens like this: You play it the first time and it’s so good that it all seems vaguely familiar, so you play it a second time and hear even more detail and richness in the words and music. By the third listen you find yourself whistling along and singing lines as though you have always known this music.

Welcome to Louise Goffin’s Songs from the Mine, which has its official release on July 15.

Goffin is one of the Construction Zone Songwriters at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay this week, who, after an intense week of making music, perform for this weekend’s Steel Bridge Song Fest (check out our Summer Live Music Preview for more details and a schedule of events).

Some of her new record was conceived and recorded at last year’s Steel Bridge Fest, while most was recorded last winter in Los Angeles (a testament to that being that Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper contribute backing vocals and hand claps on the rocking “Watching the Sky Turn Blue”). One of the songs, “Deep Dark Night of the Soul,” contains the telltale “steel bridge” reference slyly and seamlessly woven into the fabric of the song.

You can read about how this record came to be – her first in six years – at, but, basically, it was the prospect of playing at an event honoring her mother, Carole King, that spurred Louise on to make another record, which became Songs from the Mine.

Ever since her first record in 1979, writers have brought up the fact that Louise is the progeny of pop music legends. In addition to Carole King as her mother, her father is Gerry Goffin, the other part of the Goffin-King Brill Building hit-making team of the 1960s – “Up on the Roof,” “The Loco-Motion” (written for their babysitter Little Eva), “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – to name just a few.

I bring it up only because I think you should know it as a fact of her life, and then listen to this record on its own terms.

Louise produced the record and plays piano, Hammond B3 organ, ukulele, guitar and some percussion.

But the most arresting element is her voice. It is somehow sweet and savory, cheerful and wistful, joyful and melancholic, childlike and ageless, all at the same time.

It is that same dual quality at work in the overall effect of the album. It seems intimate, an artist’s personal journey, yet one in which you are immediately made welcome to join.

The record begins with a quiet crescendo, like a wave rolling into shore, and then Louise’s voice breaks across the landscape and draws you into the song called “Everybody But You.”

The previously mentioned “Watching the Sky Turn Blue” – well, I would love to hear and see that turned up to 11 at some event and watch the dance floor fill up.

So many things I love about this record. One of my favorite riffs is in the song “Get With the World”: “Get with the world, get with the world, before the world gets to you.” That may not look like much on the page, but check it out on the record.

I love the drunken horn section on “Deep Dark Night of the Soul” and the bass-line tuba on “Main Street Parade.” So many nice touches throughout.

The record ends with the soothing and uplifting “Good Life”: “You ought to know by now, you can have a good life, anyhow.”

Listen to it and a couple of other Songs from the Mine at