Brandi Carlile: Alt-Country Soul Sister

by Gil Melott SOURCE JA / Vevo
Photo Credit: Courtesy Brandi Carlile

Authentic. That's the first word that springs to mind when you encounter Brandi Carlile. From her rootsy bell-clear voice to the palpable emotion that seeps through every song on her stunning debut album, everything about this 30-year-old from rural Washington state is the real deal.

Indeed, anyone who's ever attended one of Carlile's shows will recognize the magic captured within. Unlike many albums that claim to be "live" but are full of studio fixes, Carlile's latest, "Live at Benaroya Hall" is pure, unadulterated Brandi. "We did some really, really minor things in post-production, mostly volume stuff like we'd decide the symphony needs to be louder or we wanted to turn up the violas," Carlile says. "But anyone who was there would tell you this is exactly how it sounded." Whether she is playing solo with her guitar to a Rosanne Cash-style melody or in front of a symphonically full wall, Carlile manages to stand out. We just happened to catch her opening for Ray LaMontagne in Chicago, and she didn't just open for him, she blew a big hole in the stage door.

Donate to Charity: Water as a Birthday Gift to Brandi!