As I watched Caroline Reese drive away after her most recent in-studio session at WXPN for Folkadelphia, I got to thinking about mileage, repeated experiences, and what that does to a person. Reese has most of us beat if we’re comparing odometers. One tour ends and she’s already dreaming up where she’s going or what’s she’s doing next. I’ve barely known anyone that seems to exist, to live in two places as much as Caroline does – it’s either Philadelphia or “Other,” a lot spent in that car staring through a windshield no doubt. When I think about Caroline travelling around on highways, I think about how little that window view changes or how much that situation remains the same on a day-to-day basis (there’s always someone on your ass – just pass me already). But then I contrast that with how immensely everything changes on a longer term basis – shores give way to mountains give way to deserts. The blatant immediate versus the unseen gradual. It’s easy to see what that does to a person’s environment or outward experience, but what does that do to the person herself? This duality experience has informed Caroline Reese’s music, from her last album (even her last Folkadelphia Session) to her new one Tenderfoot.
Like going on tour, a lot remains the same in Reese’s music on Tenderfoot and I’m grateful for that. She always has had such a command of melodies that hook into a person and keep them steady listening. What has changed is that the more time and distance you rack up, the further away from the start you are. An experience can lead to knowledge, but repeated experiences over years can lead to wisdom. I think Caroline’s got a bit of wisdom on Tenderfoot. She certainly doesn’t come off cocksure, but she’s throwing more know-how and swagger around. Damn straight! Give her new in-studio session a listen and figure out for yourself.