Album Review of
True North

Written by Joe Ross
June 13, 2022 - 2:23pm EDT
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Peaking at #10 on The Roots Music Report's Top 50 Contemporary Folk Album Chart in mid-May 2022, award-winning singer/songwriter Caroline Spence’s fourth album, True North continues to emphasize her rootsy original material that is presented in deliberative arrangements with graceful instrumentation, gorgeous vocals full of soul and poignancy. Multi-tracked during the pandemic, Spence plays the acoustic guitar, sings both lead and background vocals. She also has many masterful instrumentalists contributing to the passionate radio-friendly folk and Americana repertoire. The album was produced by multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lehning who also contributes piano, organ, guitars, vibraphone, mellotron and even chimes on the closing track (“There’s Always Room”). With all lyrics includes in the 16-page CD booklet, Spence’s focus is squarely on prolific contemporary messages, thoughtful arrangements, graceful instrumentation, and relaxed vocals in songs like “Mary Oliver,” “Blue Sky Rain,” “Clean Getaway,” “Scale These Walls” and “The Next Good Time.”  

True North is a musical journey in search of love, freedom and happiness. Life may not be perfect, but Spence encourages us to stay optimistic and keep on believing. Like the beautiful flowers that grace the cover and notes, the twelve songs have concise expressions that evoke the seasons of life. If you’re “feeling  low down lately,” a rollicking song like “Icarus” will inspire you to get your feet up off the ground and fly, while “Walk the Walk” reminds us that “a wallflower can bloom.”  There really is no reason to prolong the heartache while waiting for love to blossom.

Song crafting is an art, and Caroline Spence has again succeeded. She also takes her relaxed, comforting songs to a high level of professional production. I’d like to hear more up-tempo material from Caroline. Despite that, her consummate approach has a reflective, poetic quality and potential for widespread appeal as she tours widely and continues to build her legion of fans.  Spence’s expressive musicality sparkles with creativity, depth, thoughtfulness and individuality. True North is a very satisfying listen, full of charm and appeal.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)