Any attempts to qualify or quantify Brandi Carlile‘s effect on listeners are destined to fall short, if not fail altogether. Sure, given the right tools, you could dissect her technical ability; but even the sharpest critical scalpel will never get to the heart of the matter … and that’s where she hits you. Right smack in the heart. There’s an intangible emotional consideration to the experience, as well as a more subtle, somewhat visceral component. And while great singers can move a listener to tears or send chills up their spines, the really, truly great ones leave a more lasting impact that lingers well after the last chord has resolved. Brandi does both — creating both immediate and indelible impressions upon all those who hear her.
With the June 5 release of Bear Creek, Carlile and her ever-present twin accomplices, Tim and Phil Hanseroth, make those varied impressions once again as they also venture into previously uncharted waters of producing themselves. (Yes, the unreasonably talented Trina Shoemaker co-produced and engineered the record, but still …) From the opening high holler of “Hard Way Home” to the tender apologies of “That Wasn’t Me” to the driving beat of “100,” Bear Creek is pure Brandi Carlile Band. In fact, she confessed, “It scares me how much of who we are is in this album.”
To mark the CD’s release, Brandi is offering three album tracks recorded live at Bear Creek Studios to NoiseTrade users. New fans and old can just sit back and let her stunning voice wash over them, doing what it will to their DNA. In the end, we can all agree that Brandi Carlile is already the blessing she strives to be.
NoiseTrade: I’m so curious about the interplay between your vocal ability and your songwriting, as well as the arrangements and production that come later. What’s your process in terms of that … as in, how does your voice inform the crafting and arranging of a song? Does it lead or follow?
Brandi Carlile: It leads and it informs it completely. In fact, everything I’ve ever learned to do musically — be it guitar, piano, or writing a song — was only so I’d have something to sing and perform with. For me, the creative process is never complete until it ends in performance.