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The Story

4.8 15
by Brandi Carlile

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Seattle based singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has a powerful voice and puts it to use elaborating her equally potent lyrics. Backed by twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, she presents an intriguing combination of Indigo Girls-style folk pop with Melissa Etheridge's rock intensity, made particularly manifest on The Story's title track. Buffeted by ringing


Seattle based singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has a powerful voice and puts it to use elaborating her equally potent lyrics. Backed by twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, she presents an intriguing combination of Indigo Girls-style folk pop with Melissa Etheridge's rock intensity, made particularly manifest on The Story's title track. Buffeted by ringing electric guitar chords, Carlile goes from a plaintive croon to a full-throated roar, her voice cracking dramatically at the song's climax. No, Brandi Carlile is not for the faint of heart. It's easy to hear, in her second album for Sony, the dedication of an artist who is well accustomed to recording and performing on her own terms, as Carlile did for years prior to her 2005 debut. Producer T-Bone Burnett, attracted to homespun talents like Carlile's like a moth to a campfire, crafts an honest and dynamic soundbed for The Story, from the guitar-churning guitar rock of the title song to the stripped-down harmonies of "Have You Ever." "Turpentine" makes the most of Carlile's huge voice, which slides easily into a crooner's falsetto, recalling Loretta Lynn and even Roy Orbison, and lyrics detailing a relationship that's hit the skids yet endures out of habit. She's joined on "Cannonball" by the Indigo Girls, returning the favor after her appearance on Despite Our Differences. Consider it a passing of the torch -- Brandi Carlile's story has just begun.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
One of the most appealing qualities of Brandi Carlile's debut album was that it had an ethereal quality, unattached to style or sound or time. Since she was a singer/songwriter playing an acoustic guitar, there were undoubtedly elements of folk, but Carlile's songwriting was elliptical and elastic, giving her plenty of room to indulge her powerful voice, a voice that had echoes of Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke. This gave Brandi Carlile a spacey, dreamy quality, but for as good as it was, the album didn't achieve much attention initially apart from some rave reviews. Still, Carlile and the label slowly worked the record, getting some songs onto Grey's Anatomy as they laid the groundwork for her second album, The Story, which was designed to be her big breakthrough. Producer T-Bone Burnett -- a singer/songwriter in his own right, but better known as the man behind O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the man who helmed records for Counting Crows, Roy Orbison, Gillian Welch, and his wife Sam Phillips -- was brought aboard to help streamline some of Carlile's eccentricities without watering down her music, a task he performs admirably on The Story. Part of the streamlining process involves accentuating the arty undercurrents that ran throughout her debut -- a move that highlights her ambition and helps push her out of the rootless ether and into something that sounds distinctly contemporary. In other words, Carlile's Buckley and Yorke influences are brought to the forefront here -- not just in her soaring, neo-operatic vocals, either, but also how her writing is at once more brooding, dramatic, and open-ended than it was on the debut -- which makes her sound modern, if perhaps a bit too indebted to her idols. If Carlile openly wears her influences on her sleeve on The Story, she is nevertheless the rare songwriter who can hold her own with such idiosyncratic talents. Indeed, there's an earthiness to her music that keeps it from floating into willfully abstract territory, and if Burnett's dark, burnished production is a shade too dour -- this broods like it was 1995 -- it nevertheless is appropriate, capturing the mournful qualities of Carlile's songs and voice, along with the muscle the twin Hanseroth brothers bring as her support. The album's only flaw is that it's perhaps a little too monochromatic, a little too somber and sober in its presentation; a slight glimmer of sunlight or a dose of humor would have given this record some needed breathing room. That said, this dark, roiling collection fulfills the promise of her remarkable debut, offering resounding confirmation that Carlile is a singular talent.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brandi Carlile   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Matt Chamberlain   Drums
Keith Ciancia   Keyboards
Amy Ray   Vocals
Emily Saliers   Vocals
David Palmer   Keyboards
Tim Hanseroth   Guitar,Background Vocals
Phil Hanseroth   Bass,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

T Bone Burnett   Producer
Greg Latterman   Management
Christopher Austopchuk   Art Direction
Mike Piersante   Engineer
Glenn Matullo   Engineer
Paul Ackling   Guitar Techician
Michelle Holme   Art Direction
Stacy Parrish   Engineer
Brandi Carlile   Composer
Tim Hanseroth   Composer
Phil Hanseroth   Composer
Cathie Bleck   Illustrations
Mark Cunningham   Management

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
macprof More than 1 year ago
The instrumentals are very good, but the lyrics are excellent. It reminds me of the Old Simon and Garfunkle days when, in addition to enjoying the music, you were meant to think about the words. Great stuff
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a photographer who very luckily heard "the Story" just before Brandi was appearing in Boston on August 12th 2007. I had never heard that range of singing before. So I went to the concert to take pictures of her and her band, and I left TOTALLY amazed at her voice. I've been to many concerts, but seeing Brandi Carlile live is one of those rare moments you will never forget! Oh, I also got great pictures to complete the perfect experience. Since then, every person that I have had listen to her became instant fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't stop playing this CD. Brandi's voice is so pure and beautiful that I can't get enough of it. She's truely one of the best singer/songwriter's out today and I highly recommend this wonderful CD. Seeing her live is an even bigger joy, from the first note her voice has you captured. She's such a beautiful soul and a very gifted artist. Buy "The Story" today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carlile shows progression as a folk-rock artist on this second full-length album, with more complex song structures and a more mature sound. There are more electric guitars and more instrumentation on this record, giving it more of a band feel than her previous album, which was more acoustic and folk-oriented. At first listen this will not resonate as quickly as her last record, but listen to it a few more times and pay close attention to the lyrics and emotion of the songs, and you will learn to love it as much as the first.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i guess she's talented. but she sounds like so many other people. i don't hear anything original in her. and the songs on this cd are just......average. and good lord, when she yodels, my ears want to fly off. in a bad way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
CD Review: In an age which seems to display a notion that music is more about image over vocal strengths, Brandi Carlile is more than a breath of fresh air. Each song is a showcase of dynamic musicianship, from exceptional melodies to perfect harmonies. Her sound is smooth, confident, powerful,and achingly perfect. She exhibits dynamic musical instincts to punctuate the intended mood of her lyrics- smooth tones swooping notes heart-felt pitches emotionally pure vocal somersaults raw edges and an occasional soft vibrato. Carlile always seemed to nail it! Lending itself to Carlile's credibility as a noteworthy vocalist, is decison to reject Protool plug ins while recording her music. These plug ins are widely used in the music industry to correct the vocal faux pas and sour notes of today's most famous singers. Carlile chose to demonstrate her voice in an unusual straight-to-tape recording, keeping authenticity to the collection. What you hear IS exactly how it was delivered in the studio, without computer trickery. This pure method of recording provided the timeless feel, that Carlile strived to maintain. Still early in her career, Carlile's vocal dexterity already extends beyond most seasoned vocal icons. "The Story" is a shining example of her organic musical vision, and it has resulted in a herculean outcome. The CDs many strengths should swiftly propel Carlile among the finest in her genre. She has abundantly displayed her worth as a singer, musician, and lyricist. Most importantly, she has assumed a position as being "credible" and "authentic" among her peers in the music industry, and by those who know her work. ____________________________ Song Review: "Today Again". Don't underestimate this song! It has some of the disc's most vocally honest moments. The track begins as if the listener could be hearing Carlile's personal reflections, she asks "It's words that hurt the most, now , isn't it?" . Can one detect faint sarcasm? Onward, Carlile's vocal acrobats demonstrate a haunting poignancy, as she ponders "Whose going to break my fall, when the spinning starts?" It is her vocal splits and beautiful falsettos that superbly color these forlorn words, and would have left Roy Orbison feeling awe-struck. Each verse progresses, with a subtle tip-toeing crescendo...as if Carlile is leading you down the "path of least resistance" along with her...but don't be fooled. The climacting moment is an emphatically delivered protest "Not today...Not today!!!" ___________________________________ Additonal Songs: "Josephine" and "The Story". I was interested to learn that bandmates did not realize "Josephine" was being recorded, as they practiced the song in one microphone. It is that actual one time delivery that made it to the CD...perfectly sung in one take, from the first note to the very last. Harmonies were spot-on, and "the twins" proved their harmonic aptitude. The title song "The Story" speaks for itself. The song builds in strength to what many consider to be among the best highlights of the entire CD...the final chorus where Brandi's voice cracks. Despite the slip, Brandi pushed forward and belted out the remaining lyrics. She made the decison to keep it genuine, thus the technicality would stay. She validated the decison by describing the vocal mishap as "technically wrong, but emotionally right". Others have referred to it as song's "beautiful mistake". The nuances in this CD, is what contributes to this very fabulous and authentic collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have loved this album from the first note of Late Morning Lullaby. The songwriting is refreshing in a world of overproduced music. Her songs have touched me and will touch you too. Along with the twins she's unstoppable. I can't wait to see her in October.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In April 2006, I was on my honeymoon in Boston, and thought I was in luck when I found out Train was at the Orpheum. Brandi Carlile opened and I could not believe my ears. She was fantastic! I later bought THE STORY and am so glad that I did. Every one of the tracks is great, although I have my favorites. If you're looking for mainstream, this is not for you. When you listen, you can tell that this is a great team of songwriters.
Heavy_Metal_Sushi More than 1 year ago
I only just listened through this whole entire album only after I had listened all the way through her newest album, Give Up The Ghost. I had only ever heard select songs from this one before, because my ex/still great friend has the CD, and she would listen to some of it every now and then. Well, I had liked what I heard, and finally I downloaded it for my iPod. I loved it! This is a great album all the way through! Like it's follow up album, this is a great one for just driving down the highway, chilling, or just hanging out playing cards or a board game or something. Give Up The Ghost is great too, but this one is her best though so far I think, though I have not ever heard her debut album before, so I can't say for sure there, but of what I have heard, this one is by far my favorite so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not for the lover of mainstream music but if you are into talented writing this will be one of the cd's that you can't get enough of. The music and lyrics reach right into your soul. I would say that this is a mix between Jewel, the Indigo Girls and Alanis but that is just my opinion. I know that the second song (The Story) brought tears to my eyes. It just touches a raw emotion in me and I think anyone could relate to it.
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