March 11, 2006

Brandi Carlile is friggin AMAZING

Brandi Carlile *absolutely* blew me away last night live. She is an unassuming 23-year old with a voice that rips you to shreds. She wails, she mourns, she pours out her soul, and she’s really really good.

All throughout her extremely well-received performance at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, her vulnerability and her wavering, rich, gorgeous voice completely reminded me of my beloved Jeff Buckley. So, I felt like I was punched in the gut when she began the intro to her closer. She was all alone on the stage; her band had left her alone for the final song. She started in with the gentle guitar chords and fingerpicking and it hit me that she was performing “Hallelujah.” And as she got into it, she was playing the Jeff Buckley version, not the original Leonard Cohen or Rufus Wainwright or any other number of artists who have sung it.

It was clear to me as I stood there and listened to her in that dark and transfixed room that she, like me, had listened to the recording of Jeff singing it a thousand times. She paused where he pauses, she breathed where he breathes, her voice cracked where his did. And it almost felt a bit transcendent, as if she was channeling Jeff through her song. It was a gift of love, belting out a song that she clearly felt deeply inside. And although it sounds silly to type it here the next morning, I couldn’t help but fight back some hot tears because it was just so damn beautiful and wrenching.

I talked to her after the show; we both expressed how never seeing Jeff Buckley live was one of our biggest regrets. I asked where I could find a recording of her performing Hallelujah, and she pointed me in the direction of KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. I’ve got it for you here and you must hear it; although it can’t capture the same vibe as a live performance, it’s dang good:

Open the Real Player to hear her set:
What Can I Say (great song)
Fall Apart Again
Closer to You
Throw It All Away
(another great song, posted on the Monday Music Roundup last week)
The Story
(listen to her belt it out. Oh. My. Gosh.)
Hiding My Heart

If the above link to the player won’t open, try here.

I bought her 2005 debut album, Brandi Carlile, at the show last night and I’ve already listened to it about 3 times through. Deeply impressive & authentic.

Upcoming tour dates: GO SEE HER!
She is playing with Jamie Cullum (who is also a fabulous dynamo on-stage), and Train (who I personally cannot condone in this forum, due to their use of lame lyrics about soy lattes and tae bo. Thank you.). But Train or no, she is worth paying to see.

3.12.06 – St. Paul, MN, Fitzgerald Theater w/ Jamie Cullum
3.13.06 – Chicago, IL, Park West w/ Jamie Cullum
3.14.06 – St. Louis, MO, The Pageant w/ Jamie Cullum
3.19.06 – Atlanta, GA, The Tabernacle w/ Jamie Cullum
3.21.06 – Toronto, CANADA, Harbourfront Centre w/ Jamie Cullum
3.22.06 – Royal Oak, MI, Royal Oak Music w/ Jamie Cullum
3.23.06 – Cleveland, OH, House of Blues w/ Jamie Cullum
3.25.06 – Washington, DC, 9:30 Club w/ Jamie Cullum
3.26.06 – Sayreville, NJ, Starland Ballrom w/ Jamie Cullum
3.27.06 – Philadelphia, PA, Kimmel Center w/ Jamie Cullum
3.30.06 – Boston, MA, Opera House w/ Jamie Cullum
4.05.06 – Denver, CO, Paramount w/ Train
4.06.06 – Kansas City, MO, Uptown Theatre w/ Train
4.07.06 – St. Louis, MO, Pageant w/ Train
4.08.06 – Nashville, TN, Ryman w/ Train
4.10.06 – Madison, WI, Orpheum w/ Train
4.11.06 – Milwaukee, WI, Riverside Theatre w/ Train
4.12.06 – Minneapolis, MN, State Theatre w/ Train
4.13.06 – Cedar Rapids, IA, Paramount Theatre w/ Train
4.14.06 – Cincinnati, OH, Taft w/ Train
4.15.06 – Chicago, IL, Chicago Theatre w/ Train
4.17.06 – Cleveland, OH, House of Blues w/ Train
4.18.06 – Toronto, ON, The Phoenix w/ Train
4.19.06 – Detroit, MI, State Theare w/ Train
4.20.06 – Pittsburgh, PA, AJ Palumbo w/ Train
4.21.06 – Atlanta City, NJ, Borgata w/ Train
4.22.06 – Erie, PA, Civic Center w/ Train
4.26.06 – New York, NY, Beacon w/ Train
4.27.06 – Washington, DC, DAR Constitution Hall w/ Train
4.28.06 – Mashantucket, CT, Foxwoods w/ Train

Tagged with .


  • Wow. It is uncanny and amazing how much she sounds like Janis Joplin on that “The Story” song. THANK YOU! She’s awesome.

    Lila — March 11, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  • ooh great to hear your thoughts – someone recommended her to me recently, i found some tunes, then forgot about them…

    thanks for reminding me!

    will re-check her out,

    supergurg — March 11, 2006 @ 6:33 pm

  • She is so amazing and what a beautifully written post…I can’t wait to hear her cover Jeff! I have a live ep of her’s called “Live from Neumo’s” – featuring five songs. I’ll post it at my mp3 blog (Best of the Bunch) sometime tomorrow. Check it out…and thanks for the link.

    "Betty" — March 11, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

  • I bought Brandi’s CD about a month ago, and it is never more than an arms-length away. I am hoping to check her out live when she comes to Chicago with Train in April.

    Jason — March 11, 2006 @ 8:41 pm

  • Saw Brandi months ago when she opened for Ray LaMontagne at Berkley in Boston — she performed the Buckley Halelujah, and I was just as blown away as you seem to have been.

    No one in the audience knew who the heck she was, of course (this was back in, what, October?). But most of them — music students almost entirely — were just as impressed, judging from the swarm in the hallway after her set.

    Because of the set-up for Ray, though the boys were touring with her, they were backstage the entire time — it was just BC and the guitar, about 6 songs. Sweet, and a great way to showcase her vocals, but I’d LOVE to see her with the band, too.

    Thanks so much for the sweet .ram link. I’ll keep coming back to find if someone got the halelujah.

    boyhowdy — March 12, 2006 @ 6:51 am

  • Hi, Heather. Can’t wait to see Brandi live when she comes to Philadelphia after reading your post. A student of mine turned me on to her record in January and it’s been in heavy rotation on my iPod ever since.

    Thanks a lot for the KCRW link. I put some other live tracks of hers up on my blog at if anyone’s interested. Take care,


    J — March 12, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

  • Nice tip on Brandi. As for Train, never really listened to them but mild interest was sparked when I heard they were covering one of my favs Bob Mould (Husker Du) song’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind on their new ablum. But they pretty much sucked the life out of that song. At least Bob will make some money off of it.

    Dexter — March 13, 2006 @ 9:43 am

  • I am in love with her. I’m not even kidding…

    Anonymous — July 11, 2006 @ 12:22 pm

  • I saw her with Jamie Cullim in Boston and was enthralled with her range and emotion. Absolutely would see her again live – very inspirational and sweet, innocent at the same time

    Maureen of Byfield MA — June 3, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  • FINALLY got to see her over here in Switzerland, too. What a show! The whole place was blown away and I can’t thank you enough for blogging about her before anyone here even knew she existed…

    Bruno — November 22, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →