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Brandi Carlile Delivers "The Story"

By Michael Krahn     Dec 10, 2007 in Entertainment
On her second album, relative newcomer Brandi Carlile and her band found the volume knobs and turned them up. There was no lack of either promise of fulfillment on Carlile's debut album but "The Story" both fulfills that promise and promises even more to
There was no lack of either promise of fulfillment on Carlile's debut album but "The Story" both fulfills that promise and promises even more to come.
Carlile wails in a voice with a maturity beyond its years. Upon first hearing her it's easy to assume that she is an old voice coming up, finally, from the underground to taste some mainstream success. You would never guess that huge, elegantly raspy voice belongs to a smooth-skinned 26-year-old.
Her voice is every bit as world-weary as Lucinda Williams', has the plaintive qualities of Kathleen Edwards', and all the unhinged passion of Janis Joplin or the Indigo Girls' Amy Ray, with whom she shares vocals on the song "Cannonball".
As a single, "The Story" starts rather slowly and a bit soft, but the payoff is huge for those who stick around to listen. Half-way through there is a moment of passion so raw you're not sure it should be there. Her voice shreds, breaks, and makes a rapid ascent before regaining control and finishing the flight.
Musically, there is a nice mix of folk, ballads, mid-tempo pop and loud rock. If there is a criticism it is that instrumental breaks border on mundane, merely shadowing the melody of the vocal part they are replacing, but this is a fault quickly forgotten when Carlile's voice reenters the narrative stream.
This an album that will immediately impress fans of female alternative country stars like Kathleen Edwards, Tift Merritt, or Lucinda Williams, but Carlile spans more genres.
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