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Brandi Carlile: The Story


Brandi Carlile's most recent release, The Story, is all about marriage. It's about the marriage of well-written songs to Carlile's signature vocals. It's the marriage of Carlile's lead to the background harmonies. It's the marriage of three persons' songwriting skills—Carlile and her collaborators, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, also known as the Twins. It's the marriage of Carlile's roots in country music to the Twins' rock-and-roll sensibilities.

The Story is ultimately a marriage of one of the Northwest's best new talents to an album that's anything but a sophomore slump. After the release of her first, self-titled album, Carlile was named one of Rolling Stone's "10 Artists to Watch in 2005." This album shows that sometimes foresight is 20/20.

The Seattle-based Carlile recorded The Story in Vancouver, British Columbia, over an 11-day period while the Twins backed her up with guitar, bass and vocals. They were joined by a cellist, drummer and a couple keyboardists. The Indigo Girls appear, too, offering harmony vocals on the song "Cannonball."

The album's title song is getting some airplay possibly because its words resonate with many listeners: "All these lines across my face/Tell you the story of who I am/So many stories of where I've been/And how I got to where I am."

While it would be tempting to call Carlile a singer-songwriter, on this album, credits are shared equally with the Twins. In fact, it was Phil Hanseroth, not Carlile, who wrote the title track. In "Again Today," a song Carlile did pen, she lays out the thought-provoking line, "The path of least resistance/Is catching up with me again today." With The Story, it's obvious that Carlile is still very much someone to watch and definitely someone to listen to.

—Curt Nichols