Caroline Spence

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There are several ways to take the measure of a music career as it advances and grows. From the artists' point of view few things matter more than the hard-won amenities of the road. A few years ago, Caroline Spence released the true-story song "Hotel Amarillo" in which she's traveling solo, doing 500 miles in a day, eking out enough scratch to end a tough day with a room and a bottle of wine.

She sings a music biz double entendre: "I've been playing shows out west with no guarantee/ That anybody's ever gonna give a damn about me."