I had heard her name, even heard a song or two, but it was recently—before the Grammy’s—that I tumbled headlong into the midst of her music, starting with “The Mother” from her album By the Way, I Forgive You. But “The Joke” was pointed out to me by poet and editor Seth Pennington (Sibling Rivalry Press) and deeper I went.
I dug back to nine years ago and the song called “That Year.” It brought very specific memories back, and god, her voice had me entranced. When he was looking for singers who wrote meaningful lyrics, I mentioned her to Raul Clement, another poet and editor (New American Press). Basically, I passed on the Brandi addiction, and he repaid my by sharing the song “The Eye,” a composition with three-part harmony reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash. And we talked a bit about how sentiment, though many poets run from it like it’s a disease, need not be the enemy of music and poetry, not if it’s handled with such skill.
She did very well at the Grammy’s this year I’m going to shut up now and share a few of these songs, starting with her 2019 Grammy performance and ending with the March for Our Lives. But she and the twins (Tim and Phil Hanseroth) have been writing and performing gorgeous songs for years (I’ll include “That Year” because it breaks me every time); I’m sure you’ll get lost down a YouTube rabbit hole of your own. Be sure to look up “The Pin Drop Tour.
If you add her to your playlists or buy her latest album, I’ll feel that I’ve done good work here.
In the photo, Brandi Carlile and her band perform for military families during the Fourth of July holiday celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)