If there is one thing you can learn from Loren Cole, it’s to question everything. The singer-songwriter came of age in the digital world, but she finds the whole social media landscape a bit exhausting. Her forthcoming debut album, For the Sake of Being Honest (out Aug. 24), serves as a reminder that what matters most is what is happening right here, right now. She’s only 22, but her mind is sharp and her songwriting is sharper. She’s shared stages with the likes of Jewel, The Accidentals, Mike Mains, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers and many others. This is only the beginning of a very promising career.
For the Sake of Being Honest is soaked in beautifully faded confessionals, songs that are reminiscent of contemporaries such as Pheobe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Tift Merritt; delicate folk-driven songs about what human existence means. “I had a photo shoot a while back,” Cole says, “and the photographer asked me to come up with three words to describe me and my music. I said: nostalgic, curious, and warm. A lot of the record is searching, asking for honesty from people.”
The album was produced by Henry Was, son of the pioneering musician, producer and record exec Don Was (The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Stevie Nicks) out of his Santa Monica studio. Cole unearthed many songs she’d been sitting with for a while. Some were written during her college years, but still others found their way out of her angsty teenage days. There’s a certain innocence that seeps out of her work, a magical, twilight glow that makes her songs universal and appealing.
While Cole handles much of the guitar playing, she turned to a band of reputable student musicians to help her out. You’ll find Henry Was on drums, Paul Cornish and Michael Arrom on keys, Logan Kane and Sol Was on bass, Sam Yun on guitar, and multi-instrumentalist Jack DeMeo, who you’ll hear on guitar, mandolin, harmonica, and many other instruments. Brian Malouf (Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Dave Matthews Band) manned the mixing board, balancing out her feathered vocals with a bit of polish while maintaining a uniquely textured sound.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the song “God Only Knows Why”, which opens the record with a mature, discerning tone. Over a serene acoustic guitar and a tambourine, Cole’s angelic vocals shine like a beacon of positivity. While the song and its artist are not necessarily religious, “God Only Knows Why” speaks to that spiritual feeling that exists in all of us. Cole was also listening to a lot of Pet Sounds when she wrote the song, reminded that “God Only Knows” is one of the best-written songs of all time and setting out to write a spin-off of Brian Wilson’s initial idea while giving it a life of its own.
In her own words, Cole has this to say about the song:
“I wouldn’t say I’m a very religious person, but I’m definitely a spiritual one. I wrote ‘God Only Knows Why’ during a time that I really questioned my decision to pursue music. I’d just left a toxic living situation, and was consistently watching my love life wash down the drain. It was a triple-whammy concoction that resulted in this outcry for answers. I was frustrated and confused – it seemed like some unseen force was trying to teach me a lesson that I couldn’t decipher, no matter how I tried. This song comes from a place of coming to terms with some questions never getting answered.”
Photo credit: Danni Maibaum