On my first listen to Brandi Carlile’s new album Give Up the Ghost, I thought she truly has one of the most amazing voices I’ve ever heard, but, I thought, it’s not really the kind of music I would listen to. I doubted any of the songs would ever make it to my Top 25 Most Played playlist on iTunes.
But then I listened again. And again. And now I’m singing her songs in my head.
In trying to think of a way to describe her voice, I’m not sure there are any adjectives that would do it justice. On my inaugural listen to the first track, “Looking Out,” what first popped into my head was, “She reminds me of Johnny Cash.” Well, a female version of Johnny Cash anyway. (It’s a compliment, sheesh!)
But in listening to such diverse songs as “I Will” and “Dying Day,” I can hear echoes of Patsy Cline and even KT Tunstall as well. Very mature and confident, yet never overpowering or haughty. And I swear I could actually feel some of the lyrics, they are that raw.
“That Year” is a hauntingly beautiful song about a friend of Brandi’s who committed suicide when they were in high school. Other notable songs on the album are “Looking Out” and “If There Was No You,” both love songs, as well as the upbeat “Dreams.”
But don’t take my word for it. Anyone watch Grey’s Anatomy tonight? (I know; I’m the only female on the planet who doesn’t watch Grey’s. Quit after the first season.) Apparently Brandi’s single “Before It Breaks” was featured in tonight’s episode.
Oh, and ever heard of a guy called Elton John? Yeah, he’s been one of Brandi’s biggest fans and even sings duet with Brandi in “Caroline.” Listen and try NOT to picture it being sung in a dance hall in the Old West. You won’t be able to resist a little foot tapping either. Just go with it.
Also helping out with this album were musicians from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as well as the Indigo Girls. Not too shabby. Not too shabby indeed.
Here’s how Brandi describes why the album is called Give Up the Ghost:
“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. Or what you knew yourself to be so that you can grow and transcend love or youth. Sometimes both.”
This will be an album I listen to for years, and I am now eagerly awaiting Brandi to come to Iowa because I’ve been told she’s amazing live.
Disclosure: I received a free download of the Give Up the Ghost album from One2One Network to review.