Monday, October 5, 2009

CD Review: Brandi Carlile's Give Up The Ghost

When I was in college, I spent a vast amount of my free time in coffee bars, studying (I had to maintain that 3.91 GPA!) or just socializing with friends. And let's not forget sipping on warm, frothy mochaccinos and listening to great indie music. Ah, flashbacks...

Previewing Brandi Carlile's newest album took me right back to those days.

The Washington State native's third album, Give Up The Ghost, is a raw, soulful expose about love, life and change - things we all experience as we grow up.
"To give up the ghost is not just to die since we do it a handful of times throughout our lives. It's a sort of leaving yourself behind," she explains. "Or what you knew yourself to be so that you can grow and transcend love or youth. Sometimes both."
Brandi may not yet be a household name but she is well on her way, having toured with the likes of Ray Lamontagne, Dave Matthews Band and Sheryl Crow. Her last album, The Story, debuted on Billboard's Top 200, peaking at #2 on iTunes. Many of her songs have been featured on episodes of the hit NBC show Grey's Anatomy.

Track Listing

1. Looking Out
2. Dying Day
3. Pride and Joy
4. Dreams
5. That Year
6. Caroline
7. Before It Breaks
8. I Will
9. If There Was No You
10. Touching The Ground
11. Oh Dear

Brandi's style is undefinable; there are elements of rock, folk, country and pop peppered throughout the album. The lyrics are deep and introspective, inviting you to share this personal, reflective journey alongside her. Her vocal range is also incredible. The raw yet tender quality draws you in and connects you to the music from start to finish.

Very rarely do I fall in love with every single song on an album but I found it to be so engaging that it is hard for me to choose a favorite. Each record is worthy of praise. But if I had to choose some standout tracks, they would be the regretful, live-and-learn tale "Pride & Joy", the ode to an old friend in "That Year", and the toe-tapping "Caroline", a fun, playful duet with none other than Elton John. Yes, the Elton John. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers multi-instrumentalist Benmont Tench, drummer Chad Smith and Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls also contribute to the album.

Bottom line: I highly recommend checking out Give Up The Ghost, especially if you're a fan of artists like The Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, Melissa Etheridge, KT Tunstall or K.D. Lang. You won't regret it.

BUY IT: Give Up The Ghost is available on Amazon and in stores tomorrow, October 6th (ARV $11.98).

Brandi is currently on tour nationwide with her "Give Up The Ghost Travelling Show". $1 from every ticket sale will go to the Looking Out Foundation, a way for Brandi to financially support causes and organizations that are close to her heart, namely the environment. Upcoming shows include:

Oct 6 - Philadelphia, PA - Keswick Theatre
Oct 7 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
Oct 8 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live
Oct 10 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
Oct 11 - Birmingham, AL - Workplay Soundstage
Oct 12 - Fayetteville, AR - George's Majestic Lounge
Oct 14 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
Oct 15 - Santa Fe, NM - The Lensic Performing Arts Center
Oct 16 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
Oct 17 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern
Oct 20 & 21 - San Francisco, CA - Fillmore
Oct 22 - Portland, OR - Arlene Scnitzer Concert Hall
Oct 23 - Seattle, WA - Easy Street Records
Oct 24 - Seattle, WA - The Paramount

For more information about Brandi Carlile or Give Up The Ghost, or to purchase tickets to any of her shows, visit her website. You can also become her fan on Facebook!

Disclaimer: I was granted access to a digital album download courtesy of Columbia Records and One2One Network for this review. I was in no other way compensated for my review. The opinions expressed are purely mine. You may have a different experience upon listening to this album.


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