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Brandi Carlile The Story Review

Album. Released 2008.  

BBC Review

To paraphrase the song, Brandi, you're a fine girl...

Chris Jones 2008

Already released in the States last year, Brandi Carlile, following prestigious support slots with the likes of Tori Amos and Ray LaMontagne finally gets an airing over here. The Washington State resident's second album should find many friends this side of the pond, and fans of the mid-tempo country rock of the likes of Lucinda Williams will feel completely at home.

Most Of The Story is filled with gentle, loping acoustic folk country. Her use of the country singer's accented break between upper and lower ranges adds depth and nuance, and the hidden track, Hiding My Heart, shows that she's not afraid to bare her soul like a true Nashville citizen. Cannonball is especially effective in using the rolling rhythms and barstool philosophy of trad country. Working for over two years with the same team (Tim and Phil Hanseroth) has also allowed her songs to sound as natural as breathing . While respect has to be given to T Bone Burnett, the alt country stars producer of choice (and the man who made such a marvellous job of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's Raising Sand), these songs come to life just as much for their being captured almost live in just 11 days.

So what IS distressing is the occasional lapse into what can only be described as U2 territory. Both the title track and My Song are the kind of chiming guitar/grand chorus stadium rockers that may be good for those closing moments on your favourite TV drama, but are beneath her own abilities. In fact the song, The Story, was what gained Carlile notoriety by its inclusion in medical soap, Grey's Anatomy. While the rewards from such a franchise may be great, it pushes Brandi and co. into a bland arena that she obviously doesn't need the support of.

Still, these are early days for the 26-year old. those who like their Americana easy and affecting can buy with confidence. To paraphrase the song, Brandi, you're a fine girl...

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