...one of her earliest cuts was Andrew Combs’s “Heavy,” and her folksy 2017 streaming hit “All the Beds I’ve Made” will appear on Nashville star Clare Bowen’s forthcoming album. But the singer’s plan to remain in fully the background hasn’t quite panned out. After two self-released albums, she recently signed to Rounder, which put out her third LP, Mint Condition, a gorgeous reflection on finding peace amid upheaval and confusion. “I don’t think I considered being an artist,” Spence says. “[There was just] a need for someone to be singing my songs. And [that person] was me.”

The album establishes Spence as a writer somewhere between Kathleen Edwards and Guy Clark in her deft chronicles of interpersonal complexity. She relies on the Nashville tradition of rigorous songcraft and is obsessive about songwriting on both a literary and formal level: how words work in relation to one another, how removing a word like “when” can change the entire meter of a verse, how a protagonist in one song on her album seems to respond to a narrator on another. When she was writing “Sometimes a Woman Is an Island,” Spence flicked on “English major brain” and created a line that unlocked the entire meaning of the song: “Sometimes a woman is a bell.”

Spence’s craft has even impressed Emmylou Harris, who appears on Mint Condition’s poignant title track. Spence wrote the song back in 2013 from the perspective of her grandparents, with Harris’ iconic voice in mind. [Rolling Stone]

Earlier this year, Nashville-via-Ohio country singer Caroline Spence released her third album and first for Rounder Records, Mint Condition. It's the followup to her acclaimed 2017 album Spades & Roses, and it's been getting some significant acclaim of its own, having recently landed on the 40 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2019 list by Rolling Stone, whose interview with Caroline we quoted above. As that interview points out, the legendary Emmmylou Harris sings on the album, as do Erin Rae and Becky Warren, and former Big Thief drummer Jason Burger played on it, among others. If you're unfamiliar, fans of Emmylou Harris, Big Thief, and other serene, melancholic country/folk acts will probably want to hear Caroline's music too. Check out some videos and a stream of her new album below.

Carroline has been pretty active on the road since releasing Mint Condition, and she'll stay active in 2020, when she heads out opening for Ron Pope (who recently released his new single "Habits" off his upcoming album Bone Structure, due March 6 via his own Brooklyn Basement Records). That tour hits NYC's Bowery Ballroom on January 18 (tickets). All dates are listed below.

Ron Pope / Caroline Spence -- 2020 Tour Dates
JAN 10 FRI Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN, United States
JAN 11 SAT Lincoln Hall Chicago, IL, United States
JAN 14 TUE The Great Hall Toronto, Canada
JAN 15 WED Union Stage Washington, DC, United States
JAN 16 THU The Fillmore Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA, United States
JAN 17 FRI The Sinclair Cambridge, MA, United States
JAN 18 SAT Bowery Ballroom New York, NY, United States
JAN 22 WED Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, MN, United States
JAN 24 FRI Bluebird Theater Denver, CO, United States
JAN 25 SAT In The Venue Salt Lake City, UT, United States
JAN 27 MON Neumos Seattle, WA, United States
JAN 28 TUE Aladdin Theater Portland, OR, United States
JAN 30 THU Great American Music Hall San Francisco, CA, United States
JAN 31 FRI Teragram Ballroom Los Angeles, CA, United States
FEB 1 SAT Crescent Ballroom Phoenix, AZ, United States
FEB 3 MON The Bronze Peacock Houston, TX, United States
FEB 5 WED 3TEN Austin City Limits Live Austin, TX, United States
FEB 6 THU Granada Theater Dallas, TX, United States
FEB 8 SAT Terminal West Atlanta, GA, United States