Louise Goffin – Songs from the Mine (2014)

Often when a builder starts a project without a plan, things quickly go askew. Louise Goffin did just that, however, with this PledgeMusic-funded project. And yet the results are always moving, and occasionally brilliant.

One could argue that it’s Goffin’s pedigree, being the daughter of Carole King and the late Gerry Goffin, which gives her the recordmaking talent. Such an argument would ignore Goffin’s almost 35 years in this business, one that includes the impressive Danny Kortchmar-produced Kid Blue. Goffin has also been a studio owner and Grammy-nominated producer. After the 2008 indie release Bad Little Animal, Goffin focused on songwriting and live performances with little thought of recording. Apparently the process was inspiring nonetheless, as the Songs from the Mine came quickly and fit cohesively.

Goffin, handling the coproduction herself, casting each song expertly. The leadoff track “Everybody But You” is a killer. Co-written with Sam Ashworth, the song is introspective and sad, with a hint of optimism. Goffin assembled a small, but impressive, band for Songs from the Mine — and they provide just the right amount of tension. “Follow My Heart” heats things up with a upbeat rock feel added by the slide guitar of Billy Harvey. “Watching The Sky Turn Blue” keeps the heat up with a driving rhythm guitar and lead phrases provided by Goffin. The old-fashioned handclap/vocal circle features Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, among others.

“Here Where You Are Loved” dials back the guitar heat, but the track — co-written with guitarist Billy Harvey — turns up the emotional heat. This ode to lost and unconditional love is another gem. “Sword In Your Heart,” another stellar Goffin/Harvey collaboration, features a production that effectively blends their voices over the backdrop of her emotive piano and his stark acoustic guitar. Then “Good Life” ends the journey on the right note: You can almost feel the California sun on your face. That in itself is worth the price of admission on Songs from the Mine.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Chicago. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.