Country and folk storytellers have never had any problem portraying the rush of instant love or the devastation of heartbreak. Writing about the rich complexity of long-lasting love has generally proved much more difficult. Nashville singer-songwriter Caroline Spence does just that on “Mint Condition,” the title ballad to her upcoming album.
“Some things they last, and some things, they won’t,” she sings, before harmonizing with Emmylou Harris on the chorus: “Oh, but nothing ’bout you ever gets old.”
Spence is interested in exploring the ways in which love hardens and deepens with time, setting up devoted partnership as a counterbalance to the inevitable process of aging, where “that feeling of comfort overtakes desire.” Spence tells her story in part through the song’s languid tempo, which mirrors the power and comfort that the song’s central relationship has found in the slowed-down pace of its later years.
Spence’s latest is in conversation with classics like Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” Lori McKenna’s “Good Marriage” or John Prine’s “Glory of True Love” — rare, precious songs that explore blissful contentment and stability, rather than romanticizing lost love and regret.