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Cirque Du Soleil
(Cirque Du Soleil)
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Patricia Barber
(Blue Note)
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Cirque Du Soleil
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Jim Pearce
“Why I Haven't Got You”
Prairie Dog Ballet
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Andy Timmons Band
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(Favored Nations)
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Ralph Towner
Time Line
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Anoushka Shankar

Amos Lee
"Arms Of A Woman"
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Julius Curcio
"American Pie"
Alligator Shoes
(Electric Roots)
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"Come Alive"
Changing Into Me
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Rising Stars [Issue #25]
Brandi Carlile: Telling The Story
By Peter Vouras
The Story (CD Columbia)

Music journalists, myself included, tend to clump artists into neat little categories that are easily definable and accessible. “Oh, they sound like…or she 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. It’s 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 I’m 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 Carlile’s 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.

What’s 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 - I’m 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, “I’ve 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t 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 we’ve been headed in this direction for a long time.”

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. She’s had three songs featured on ABC’s hit drama, Grey’s Anatomy and it certainly helps. Just ask Snow Patrol and The Fray.

Every song on this record could be a hit. And if you didn’t think 13 tracks were enough, stay tuned, there is even a hidden track!

The Story

Telling The Story Brandi Carlile The Story

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