While on tour with John Moreland and Tyler Childers earlier in 2017, singer-songwriter Caroline Spence took to playing solo acoustic versions of songs from her second album Spades and Roses. Realizing the potency of her simplified songs, Spence decided to rework four of them for her new Secret Garden EP – plus the title track, a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s 1995 single – imagining the release like a set of B-sides for Spades and Roses.
“Before you tour, you get used to the album version of songs,” Spence tells Rolling Stone Country. “But as a solo artist, when you take them out on the road, you learn their power as they stand on their own with just the voice and the guitar.”
Co-produced by Spence and Nashville producer Dan Knobler (Lake Street Dive, Rodney Crowell), Secret Garden features alternative versions of “Wishing Well,” “You Don’t Look So Good (Cocaine),” “All The Beds I’ve Made” and “Slow Dancer.” Springsteen’s “Secret Garden” is the fullest track of the five, with a foundation of percussion, bass and twangy electric guitar swells under Spence’s smooth, reverbed vocals and the song’s signature wispy three-note melody looping throughout each verse. Spence chose this song to include in the EP because she sees similarities between its lyrics and the ones in her latest album.
“There’s this tension between the private self and the public self in ‘Secret Garden’ that’s also in the songs on Spades and Roses,” Spence says. “They’re all about trying to relate to other people while also trying to understand yourself. I felt like it was a sister song to my album.”
Spence’s Secret Garden EP is will be released October 13th.