Rising Stars [Issue
Telling The Story By
Music journalists, myself included, tend to clump artists into neat little categories
that are easily definable and accessible. Oh, they sound like
is the new incarnation of so and so. But every once in a while someone comes
along that shakes up the status quo. Enter Brandi Carlile. With a distinctive
voice and deftly crafted songs, Carlile blazes a new path. On her upcoming release,
The Story, Carlile delivers a slice of American life. Its bluesy, rock-y,
funky and folksy with a healthy dose of old-fashioned harmonies and arrangements.
Veteran producer T-Bone Burnett was brought in to produce The Story. I decided
to have T-Bone produce the album because Im a big fan of O Brother Where
Art Thou, says Carlile, We had a great conversation previous to recording
the record and he explained to me his philosophy of recording live and recording
to tape. He brought that knowledge and an amazing collection of vintage instruments,
which were the only ones we ended up using on the record.
The album was recorded in 11 days with Carliles long-term friends, twin
brother musicians Phil (bass, background vocals) and Tim Hanseroth (guitar, background
vocals) along with Matt Chamberlain (Alanis Morrisette, Tori Amos) on drums.
Whats striking on The Story is how incredibly amazing the harmonies are.
They are particularly evident on Shadow on the Wall, which speaks
to heartache and loss, Turpentine, and on the bittersweet waltz, Cannonball,
where the Indigo Girls lend their beautiful vocal talents. Every song, whether
fast or slow, is a carefully crafted gem. Based on this, I asked Brandi if she
considered herself a perfectionist. There are two sides to me - Im
a Gemini so that makes sense. One side of me is a songwriter and the other
is a singer. The singer is a perfectionist. The songwriter is always sort
of fighting with the singer to accept imperfection. So, no I am not.
The Story, compared to previous releases, is also more rocking. Carlile explains,
Ive always been that way. On the first record, things were more mellow
with less epic rock songs because there were times during the recording where
we didnt have the means to record the songs like we wanted to. If there
was an acoustic song on the album, it was probably because we couldnt afford
drums on that one. We saved a lot of our favorite songs for this new record when
we could record them the right way with a great drummer and the sounds we liked. Anybody
who has seen us live knows weve been headed in this direction for a long
The title track is being released as the first single. I asked her about file
sharing and whether it helps or hurts the artist. I am a supporter of buying
records. I love going out and buying albums, especially on the release day,
explains Carlile, However, I do think file sharing is a good thing because
it forces artists to make records and not just record songs. Making you
think about packaging, performance, sounds, etc . . . all fit together.
If artists want people to buy records, they need to give people a reason to buy
the entire album and not just one song.
Carlile definitely is an artist on the rise. Shes had three songs featured
on ABCs hit drama, Greys Anatomy and it certainly helps. Just ask
Snow Patrol and The Fray.
Every song on this record could be a hit. And if you didnt think 13 tracks
were enough, stay tuned, there is even a hidden track!