An artist you should be listening to: Brandi Carlile

Lilianna Oustinovskaya

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Brandi Carlile's heartfelt lyrics steer clear of the manufactured sounds of today. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Cowart.

When people ask what genre of music you listen to, the standard response is often, “anything, but country music.” While my music tastes can be described as eclectic, country fails to make an appearance. This is where Brandi Carlile comes in to the picture. At first listen, this female singer-songwriter may sound like just another country music singer. But she is far from it.

Carlile has had a devoted following since her 2005 release “Brandi Carlile.” Her 2007 follow-up “The Story,” garnered not only critical acclaim, but also gave Carlile her biggest hit to date when the song  appeared on an episode of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Last October, Carlile released her third album, “Giving Up The Ghost.” She is currently on tour and has spent the last few years touring the country, playing mostly small venues. Having seen Carlile in concert, she is truly one of those artists whose stage presence and live vocals add new depth and emotion to her music.

Her music can definitely be described as what you might find yourself listening to after a long, lonely night spent at a bar. But instead of being obnoxious or insincere, her lyrics are thoughtful and captivating. The controlled and raspy delivery of her vocals adds to the melancholy nature of her music that she finds a way to make appealing. She also plays the guitar and performs with a full band.

My friends are often subjected to listen to her music while in the car with me, something they never fail to complain about.  One even went so far as to describe the music as, “a  really painful relationship that breaks your heart in ways you didn’t realize it could.”

Carlile is something rare for the music industry these days; a true artist who rejects the fancy public relations campaigns, product placements and artificial shine that music labels drown their talent in.

She was recently announced as part of the “Lilith Fair” lineup and will be playing alongside some of her idols, including the Indigo Girls.

I get asked a lot why I listen to her as much as I do. I can’t offer any clever explanation, except to say that her music has become a small part of my life, the soundtrack for this moment in time.

“I am afraid of crossing lines, I am afraid of flying blind. Afraid of inquiring minds, afraid of being left behind. I close my eyes, I think of you. I take a step, I think of you. I catch my breath, I think of you. I cannot rest, I think of you. My one and only wrecking ball and you’re crashing through my walls. When you’re outside looking in, you belong to someone,” she sings in “Looking Out”, and I can see myself looking for a wrecking ball, as I prepare to graduate in the spring.