Cof­fey’s new 11-track album is named “Pray You Love Remember.” | Courtesy Catherine Coffey (artwork by Meg Prom).

Catherine Coffey, ’16, has recently debuted her first L.P. titled “Pray You Love Remember.” The 11-track offering from Coffey comes on the heels of her signing with Vanity Plate Records, a record label founded in 2016 by a fellow Hillsdale graduate and classmate Danielle Adams, ’18.

From the opening bars of the first track, “Pray You Remember” high­lights the beauty of simple acoustics when it is a mas­tered art. Coffey said she made clear her aim to convey “simple mes­sages that are so potent and heartfelt.”

The album leaves room for the lis­tener to ponder Coffey’s rich lyrics. While much of modern music tends to inject every nanosecond of a song full of high-octane elec­tronic mixing or attention-grabbing riffs, Coffey is not afraid to allow lis­teners the chance to pause for a moment to think during her songs.

“I am a big believer in the death of the author when it comes to music,” Coffey said. “I want more inter­pretive ability for the lis­tener to apply it to their own life and allow my story to reflect in them.”

“Pray You Love Remember” carries an ocean’s worth of per­sonal inspi­ration from the opening track, “O Mis­tress Mine.” As the smooth and simple piano accom­pa­niment estab­lishes the pattern, Coffey begins her album on a somber note.
“‘For the first track, the title is taken from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night.’ I wanted the album to begin with the longing for shared expe­rience,” Coffey said.

The second track of the album, “Where We Start”, was written as a gift to Coffey’s new­lywed sister, Bridget. Coffey said it is inspired by “watching someone find new hope and pur­poses,” She con­trasts the painful yearning of “O Mis­tress Mine” with a what she called a “hope­fulness of a desire for love.”

Yet even as it empha­sizes a new dawning of love, a quiet sense of fear and concern carries over from the first track.

“Love come fiercely, teach me to be brave,” Coffey sings, before ending her song, “This is where I end, this is where we start.”

The album con­tinues with Coffey alter­nating between the piano and guitar while main­taining a con­sistent theme of sim­plicity that allows her voice to shine through, in par­ticular on the songs “Friend” and “Fall.” Coffey credits a variety of artists as inspi­ration for the album’s feel including Jeff Buckley and Carla Mor­rison. While she grew up lis­tening to folk music and to the chants at Mass, Coffey said that one of her favorite influ­ences was Jim Henson.

The album draws to a close with “Emilias,” which Coffey describes as the high­light of the album. Written for a friend, the song reflects on a variety of themes touched upon over the course of the album and con­cludes with a hopeful tone after the emo­tional ups-and-downs of the album. The song, in Coffey’s own words, under­lines the impor­tance of female rela­tion­ships as it ties together the themes of the album.

“Pray You Love Remember” gives the lis­tener the chance to both hear Coffey’s words as well as find con­nection between hers and the listener’s own expe­ri­ences. A clear mirror of clean acoustics allows the soul to see one’s trials in life reflect in the music played. Coffey’s con­sis­tency in artistry, hon­oring the theme of the album, shines through above all else in her debut L.P.