Louise Goffin makes her own way 

click to enlarge Louise Goffin
  • Finely pedigreed composer Louise Goffin’s new album is “Songs From the Mine.”
The apple did not fall far from the tree with singer-songwriter Louise Goffin. From her legendary father — lyricist Gerry Goffin, who died in June at 75 — she inherited a love of poetic wordplay, and her brilliant mother, Carole King, instilled a deep, abiding love of melody. They’re talents she fully utilizes on “Songs From the Mine,” her new self-produced album, her first in six years, issued via her own Majority of One imprint.

At 54, she clearly remembers watching, wide-eyed, as the Goffin-King team composed some of pop’s biggest hits — right before they shooed her away.

“I came along at a time when my mom and dad were both incredibly young and ambitious,” says Goffin, who plays Oakland next week. “So I didn’t get the child-centered upbringing that I’ve given my two kids. Mine was like ‘You’re here? Well, we’re writing a song — go find the babysitter because we’re busy!’ But I got to see firsthand — and really imprint and absorb — the energy of their enthusiasm for writing songs together.”

Even after her folks divorced in 1968, she remained close with her father.

“Everyone is just now figuring out that Gerry Goffin was really great,” his offspring says. “But I knew he was great when I was a kid. He was a deep thinker, very cerebral and very funny.”

He taught her to play chess, and to take her lyrics seriously. He also stressed humility. “He’d be like, ‘ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” — do you really think it’s a good song?’ After 10 people had had Top 10 hits with it,” she says.

But her mother proved even more influential. She invited junior to sing on various mid-’70s efforts, and by 1979, Goffin had flown solo with her debut, “Kid Blue.” The two even duetted on “Where You Lead,” the theme song for TV’s “The Gilmore Girls,” and Goffin produced and co-wrote her mother’s Grammy-nominated 2011 Christmas album, “A Holiday Carole.”

Playing a recent King-honoring concert, Goffin pressed an EP, then realized she had amassed enough material for “Mine” — charming, philosophical ballads such as “Good Life” and “Follow My Heart,” co-written with Nashville nabob Liz Rose. Her old producer pal Bob Ezrin, recording in Los Angeles, offered two clients for backing vocals on “Watching the Sky Turn Blue” — Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp.

As a single mom, Goffin spent the past six years raising her sons. And noble lineage doesn’t pay the bills, she has learned.

“In the comfort of your own home, you can be a big deal,” she says. “But when you go back outside, you’re just someone else who has to prove themselves, all over again. No matter who you are.”


Louise Goffin

Where: Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Tickets: $17

Contact: (510) 238-9200, www.yoshis.com

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Tom Lanham

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