Gently As I Go: Caroline Cotter Premieres Her Intimate, Reflective, & Nostalgic Third Album

Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery
Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery
From intimate inner reckonings to visceral reflections on our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows, Caroline Cotter’s third album ‘Gently As I Go’ is a cathartic collection of sweet folk ballads and poetic prayers.
Stream: ‘Gently As I Go’ – Caroline Cotter

Find me somewhere out on the road, take me into your heart and into your home…

Caroline Cotter held nothing back from her third studio album, and the result is as breathtaking as it is inspiring.

From intimate inner reckonings to visceral reflections on our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows, Gently As I Go is a cathartic collection of sweet folk ballads and poetic prayers. The Maine-based singer/songwriter stirs the soul as she delves into her innermost depths, delivering an achingly beautiful collection of acoustic tracks that remind us that life is for embracing in the moment – for living unapologetically and free, in the here and now.

Gently As I Go - Caroline Cotter
Gently As I Go – Caroline Cotter
Don’t wait for the sun to rise to get out of bed
don’t wait for money to get you ahead
don’t wait for praise to feel proud and strong
don’t wait for true love to feel you belong
Don’t wait for spring to send a bloom
don’t wait for the muse to write a tune
don’t wait for life to really get good
don’t wait for me to tell you you should
Don’t wait for the ice to melt to get out and go
don’t wait for the stars to put on a show
don’t wait for the wounds to take their time
don’t wait, it starts when you make up your mind
don’t wait, it starts when you make up your mind

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Gently As I Go,” Caroline Cotter’s third studio album (independently out August 18, 2023). An enchanting collection of hushed reveries and radiant, spellbinding wonders, Cotter’s first LP in five years sees her reckoning with the past few years’ pandemic as well as the natural ebbs and flows of life itself: The changes that happen all at once, and those that happen slowly, over time.

Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery
Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery

“I wrote these songs as a way to cope with whatever it was that I was experiencing that was challenging at the time,” Cotter tells Atwood Magazine. “I recorded them in the winter of 2019/2020, and then things changed for everyone. The pandemic started, and I completely lost motivation. I sat on the project for a few years and had plenty of time to decide to give up.“

“I’m sharing these songs because the message interwoven throughout the album is: don’t give up, and when you lose steam, just take a rest; change is inevitable, and the outcome, though it may take time, can be beautiful. I hope these songs can bring some comfort and hope to anyone who needs it.”

Cotter’s subject matter is diverse, yet everything is bound together by an unfiltered sense of our rawest humanity.

Touching on everything from love, life and death, to nostalgia and growth, loss and gratitude, Gently As I Go ultimately inspires a sense of warmth in its audience as we feel an inevitable kinship with the artist.

Dive deeper into the music in the conversation below, and stream Gently As I Go exclusively on Atwood Magazine ahead of its release.

Caroline Cotter’s third studio album is out everywhere Friday, August 18, 2023!

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:: stream/purchase Gently As I Go here ::
Stream: ‘Gently As I Go’ – Caroline Cotter


Gently As I Go - Caroline Cotter

Atwood Magazine: What inspired you to gather this collection of songs together?

Caroline Cotter: I had been writing this collection while I was touring to support the previous album. As I wrote new songs, I’d play them out, sharing them with audiences. The ones that stuck around in my live shows are the ones that made it onto this album.

What was the songwriting process like?

Caroline Cotter: I wrote most of the songs while I was touring in 2018 and 2019, and the last two I wrote during a month-long artist’s residency in January 2020. I had started recording the album in December and knew that I wanted to add at least one more song. That month, I wrote “The Year of the Wrecking Ball” and “Do You Love Me?” and recorded them in February as last minute additions.

What kind of vibe did you want this album to have?

Caroline Cotter: I wanted the album to be simple, reflective, and nostalgic.

What are the overall themes and concepts that run throughout the album? What messages did you want to convey with the songs, either individually or as a whole?

Caroline Cotter: Many of these songs (“Coming Your Way,” “The Year of the Wrecking Ball,” “Antonia,” “The Call,” “Remind Me of You,” “Gently as I Go”) have to do with acknowledging the past with gratitude, whether it was painful or perfect, and letting it all go with love. Others (“Don’t Wait,” “Morning Mantra,” “Enough,” “Gone Away”) speak to the procrastinator, the self-doubter, the anxious, depressed, or fearful, as words of encouragement to keep going, keep giving, even when it feels tough.

What was the recording experience like? Any great studio stories or magical moments that happened during the creation process?

Caroline Cotter: We recorded this album in three separate, week-long sessions – one in December 2019, one in February 2020, and one in early March 2020. Luckily we were able to do all the recording before the lockdown. Alec Spiegelman was the recording engineer and producer. This was our first time working together in that capacity, but I’ve known Alec as a musician and friend for a while and I was really excited to be working on this project with him.

Alec had so many creative production ideas, and my favorite was the percussion on “Don’t Wait.” At first, we had percussion on the whole track, but finally we decided to have it come in with the claps toward the end. It was a choice that I found really surprising but I loved, and it wasn’t until the track was released as a single this June that a friend discovered that the percussion comes in at exactly 1:43. This is significant because on my last album I have a song called “143” all about my grandmother sending me messages after her passing. 143 means I love you because there’s one letter in I, four letters in love, and three letters in you.

What are your favorite aspects of the album? Why do they speak to you?

Caroline Cotter: I love the playfulness of “Do You Love Me” and “Morning Mantra.” My favorite part of the whole album might be the percussion on “Morning Mantra.” Sean Trischka dug into his bag of tricks, and it added so much! I also really love the subtle and supportive vocal harmonies throughout the album by my friend, Emily Mure. She has such a beautiful and unique singing voice and it means a lot to me to have her on this project.

What does the album title mean, where does it come from, and why did you choose it?

Caroline Cotter: “Gently as I Go” is a song about letting go with grace and moving forward with integrity. It’s about gratitude for partnership through incredibly beautiful life experiences. These are themes that run through the album as well.

Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery
Caroline Cotter © Katherine Emery

You have multiple releases in your past. How has your music changed over time, and what is inspiring you most these days?

Caroline Cotter: My first studio album, Dreaming as I Do, was released in 2015, with very minimal production, and all acoustic instruments. I had light or no percussion, and the album was very folky, with some jazz and bluegrass influence. My 2018 release, Home on the River, was more of a folk/Americana sound, still somewhat influenced by bluegrass, but with heavier percussion and electric guitar. I loved the experimenting that happened on that album and wanted to work with these new songs to experiment even more. Alec Spiegelman is a really creative producer, and I had a lot of fun working with him on Gently as I Go to stretch the sound a little bit more.

How do you feel about releasing this album?

Caroline Cotter: I feel really grateful to be releasing it. So much changed in March 2020, just after I finished recording, and I wasn’t sure that I’d ever really have the motivation to release this album. It’s taken some time to get to this place, and I’m just feeling so relieved.

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Stream: ‘Gently As I Go’ – Caroline Cotter

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Gently As I Go - Caroline Cotter

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