Brandi Carlile, Larger Than Life and Achingly Human

Quarantine and isolation of 2020 did not reduce Brandi Carlile. just the opposite. Their seventh album, “In These Silent Days”, marked the extremes of Carlyle’s songwriting. She sympathizes, apologizes and accuses. He is righteous and he has self-doubt. She resorts to the fond lullaby and she gives out full-bodied screams. The album reaffirms and polishes her ambitions.

Carlyle creates music with his songwriting partners and bandmates, Tim and Phil Hansroth (on bass and guitar), bringing back the handcrafted sounds of 1970s rock. The lyrics on “In Silent Days” pay a clear tribute to Joni Mitchell (“You and I on the Rock”) and who (“Broken Horses”). Yet Carlyle is certainly a figure of the 21st century: a gay married mother of two daughters who left the country-music establishment to reach her enthusiastic audience.

From the beginning — Carlyle released his debut album, “Brandy Carlyle” in 2005 — his gifts have been clear. She writes melodies that appear as drama, songs full of compassion, close observation and sometimes heroic metaphors. Her voice can be slow and believable or fiercely torn when she strategically reveals her startling range. In early 2007, with the title song from their second album, “Story,” Carlyle proved she could make confessions while belting out the rafters. There was no denying her emotional power, although at times, on her early albums, it was shrouded in melodrama.

“In Silent Days” follows through the long-deserved recognition that Carlyle gained with his 2018 album, “By the Way, I Forgive You,” and its lead single, “The Joke,” which was a gorgeous crescent moon. A ballad that tells of sensitive misfits. that their time would come. It was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year in 2019 and Carlyle’s Showstopping prime-time performance Introduced her to a new troupe of fans.

Carlyle chose to share the extra attention. They collaborated on writing and producing the Grammy-winning comeback album, “While I’m Livin'”, for country singer Tanya Tucker, and he formed an Americana coalition, high lady, with Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires. she also did a perfect performance Joni Mitchell’s Album “Blue” In Los Angeles, a concert she will bring to Carnegie Hall on November 6.

When the pandemic cut short her touring years in 2020, Carlyle completes his memoir, “Broken Horses” and wrote songs with their band members on the campus they share in Washington state. They recorded the new album in Nashville with Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, who also produced “By the Way, I Forgive You”.

“In Silent Days” consolidates Carlyle’s strengths: musical, author, maternal, political. It opens with her latest ballad showpiece, “right on time,” Joe pleads for a reunion and a second chance: “Now you can be angry—of course you are,” Carlyle initially admits with hesitation, before the song begins its big climb into the chorus. does. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was right at the time,” declared Carlyle, marching to an operative peak and, in the final repetition, leaping from there, utterly amidst personal heartache and steady tremors. ready from. Within seconds of the sound, she transforms herself into a larger-than-life and painfully personified person.

“Broken Horses” do not wait for its creation. It’s an imaginative, nonlinear song brimming with defiance—”I’m a tried and experienced woman, but I won’t be tried again,” Carlyle vows—and from the start, Carlyle’s voice in a scream. On the verge of breaking down, the hard-strung guitar and rumbling drums that ride straight out of “Who’s Next”. There are moments of relief in the paused, constant reconciliation, but Carlyle is all scar and fury, as he has ever been.

She makes a more measured climb into “Sinners, Saints and Fools”, with electric guitar and orchestral strings behind her for the final boom. The song is a parable about legalism, fundamentalism and immigration; A “God-fearing man” declares that “you cannot break the law” and turns away “disappointed souls who were washed on the sand” undocumented, only to find himself banished from heaven.

Carlyle is equally telling in quiet songs. She sings to her children in “Stay Gentle”, a fascinating collection of advice – “It’s wise to find happiness in the dark / Though they’ll think you’re naive” – ​​and, more moody, in “Mama Werewolf”, which calls If she turns destructive, to answer them: “Be one, my silver bullet in the gun.”

she moves the knife neatly “Throwing the good after the bad” A stately, intense but incendiary piano ballad about being left behind by someone who will always be “rush, chase, new.” And in “When You’re Wrong,” she sings to an aging friend—”The folds on your forehead run like threads on a tire”—who are caught in a relationship that “pulls you down while you slowly- Slowly ruin your day.” In Carlile’s lyrics, she clearly and clearly sees human flaws, including her own. More often than not, his music finds ways to forgive.

Brandi Carlile
“In These Silent Days”
(Low Country Sound/Electra)

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