Caroline Smith (& the Good Night Sleeps), debuted her music in 2008 with Backyard Tent Set, obviously one of those young musicians who as a teenager, quickly honed her skills in the singer-songwriter department. Hard work paid off. Smith won fast fans with her honey-tinged alto vocals and sincere songwriting style, wisely leaving enough pepper to avoid mundanity in a populated scene. Smith’s constant involvement in her hometown of Minneapolis’ music community (she held a residency at the fabled — and now, closed — 400 Bar in Minneapolis), built up her notoriety and Smith is now ready to turn the tables on the genre that gave her that step up. Her newest, the on-the-way Little Wind, was recorded at the Terrarium by Jason Orris (Polara, Happy Apple, Haley Bonar) and is a long-jump into the spotlight with its added dose of soulfulness, backup singers and stomping. Smith tells us all about that as she readies for a show in Milwaukee tomorrow at Stonefly.
With a new album comes a new sound for you and the band — what are the main changeups?
I think the biggest changeup is the overall energy — we really wanted to get back to music being fun and our live show being something that makes you laugh and dance.
How long did recording for Little Wind take while you were at the Terrarium? Was it a pretty involved process or was it more easygoing?
Little Wind was a ball buster, for real. We were all very involved, a little too involved; too many chefs in the kitchen. (We actually joked that we’d name the record that). We toiled for a good year and though overall we are happy with what we got in the end, I think the tumult of recording Little Wind was the catalyst in going in a more lighthearted direction.
What song from the new record are you most into right now and can’t wait to share?
There are a lot that I’m excited about, but unfortunately, I have to wait to share any more details!
Minneapolis’ (your home city) City Pages wrote of your new sound after a recent show:
If you were a diehard Goodnight Sleeps…fan at this show you may have gone home a bit disappointed…hits “Tanktop” [etc.] received awesome new interpretations that highlighted the band’s rocking R&B sound, but their earlier singer-songwriter material seemed to be shoved aside ever-so-slightly…
Do you think your hometown will warm up after they hear the album?
They are already warmed up! The response to the new sound has been overwhelmingly positive and we are so grateful for that. It’s crazy to look out from stage and see the crowd singing along to the songs that aren’t released yet — we are very lucky to be from such a supportive community.
Where is tour taking you this summer and beyond?
We have a lot of soft plans for the rest of the year which depend a lot on when we will be able to release the new record. But, we’d love to get back to Europe and I’m dying to find a break to start writing some new songs and work with some new people.
Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps play Stonefly Brewery on Friday, May 31st with Bright Kind. 9pm. 21+