Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brandi Carlile: "The Firewatcher's Daughter" (album review)

There's something to really admire about Brandi Carlile.  Early in her career she probably could've achieved much greater stardom by pumping out a constant stream of albums.  But that's not what she has chosen to do.  Instead she's been meticulous, releasing material that is only of the strongest kind.

Her latest effort is the forthcoming full length The Firewatcher's Daughter (out March 3rd).

Carlile's vocals have always been a strength.  She absolutely booms with a confident delivery on "Wherever Is Your Heart".  It's an earthy, gritty performance that would shame Melissa Etheridge on "Mainstream Kid".

The roots/country/Americana influence is alive and well in Carlile's music.  That leads to the chugging, toe-tapping "The Things I Repeat", and the jive-roots "Alibi, among others.

The ballads on the album can be hit or miss.  That's not a function of the lyrics, which are nearly always solid, but rather arrangements that can slant towards being a touch too minimal.  An exception is the country ballad "The Eye", which features a stirring female/male vocal harmony.

Carlile continues to quietly release high-quality music without much concern for mainstream hubbub.  I'd be pleased if she just kept that up for the next couple of decades.

Brandi Carlile plays the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on May 27th.

Best tracks: "Mainstream Kid", "Alibi"

Track listing for The Firewatcher's Daughter:
  • Wherever Your Heart Is
  • The Eye
  • The Things I Repeat
  • Mainstream Kid
  • Beginning To Feel the Years
  • Wilder (We're Chained)
  • Blood Muscle Skin & Bone
  • I Belong To You
  • Alibi
  • The Stranger At My Door
  • Heroes and Songs
  • Murder In The City

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