EP REVIEW: Caroline Marquard – ‘The Prologue’

LifeInASong_UK

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Caroline Marquard has made her mark today with the release of her debut EP, ‘The Prologue’. As one of our ‘DC Introduces’ artists at the Destination Country network, we’ve been hugely impressed by Caroline’s mature songwriting, gorgeous melodies and infectious personality, and those three aspects shine through in abundance with this introductory collection. 

Born in Switzerland, and having moved to Nashville via New York and Florida, Caroline certainly isn’t short of life experiences that have shaped her musical output. On her journey to Music City, she says, “I feel really lucky that I’ve been able to see the world and travel to so many places at just 22. Getting to experience different cultures and ways of life definitely widens my horizons.” She cites the likes of Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum as influences, which you’ll discover pieces of with her gentle pop-country style.

The EP brings together some of the city’s finest musicians, including Ian Fitchuk (Ruston Kelly, Caitlyn Smith), Eli Beaird (Niall Horan, Steve Moakler), Todd Lombardo (David Nail, Zac Brown Band), Kris Donegan (Brett Eldredge, Old Dominion) and Dave Cohen (Chris Young, Jon Pardi). As you would expect, the result is a polished, intricate sounding batch of songs that showcase Caroline’s ability to its greatest potential.

‘Never Should’ve Left’ is the opening track, and is also one of the EP’s big highlights. Written with prolific hit-maker Liz Rose, who needs no introduction, it’s written about the aftermath of a broken relationship, knowing you weren’t the best you could have been when you see them in “someone else’s arms”. Caroline has described writing the track with Liz as a “career highlight”, and it’s certainly a highlight here in terms of the lyrical quality. 

The slower power-ballads are where Caroline Marquad really finds her feet and showcases her full potential, with songs such as ‘Keep My Eyes On You’, a stunning piano-driven tale of a love that keeps you going strong even through times of hardship and challenges. Speaking to American Songwriter about the track, Caroline said, “This song is important to me as it was pivotal in helping me realize the kind of artist I want to be, the sound I want to have and message I want to send out to the world”. Comparable to Ingrid Andress, who thrives on this style of songwriting and stripped-back, powerful production, this feels very much like Caroline’s strong point, and we need to hear more of this on future releases.

‘Only One’ is another example of the gentle but effective production from Jordan Lehning and Jase Blankfort, a beautifully haunting acoustic guitar-led melody that reflects the paranoid mindset of someone who feels like they’ve finally found true love, but knows that another twist is just around the corner. There’s a lovely traditional, almost Paul Simon-esque quality to the guitar; it washes over you. 

Just when you feel like you’ve figured out what Caroline is all about, she delivers a curve ball with ‘Don’t Waste My Time’, written from a moment of pure frustration about a self-centred individual. It’s up-tempo, and even features strings and a horn section. It’s a huge switch from the rest of the EP, and shows us a totally different side to Caroline’s output, which is what every artist should put on display with their debut project. It’s another flavour to add to the mix.

The final track on the EP, ‘Not A Rolling Stone’, is a full circle moment for Caroline, as it was the debut single that set her on the road to ‘The Prologue’ back in 2018. It gained traction with some TV appearances in Nashville, and deservedly so, with its get-up-and-go message of defiance and drive. Reminding us that the bad days make the good ones so much sweeter, ‘Not A Rolling Stone’ has a truly anthemic feel, and rounds off the EP with a real lift and a positive vibe.

Caroline certainly seems to be putting herself in the right places, working alongside some of the very best in the capital city of country music, and it’s paid off with a very impressive introductory collection that sets her up for a very promising career. We look forward to watching her progress in the coming years!

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

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