Last night I saw Brandi Carlile with opening act Blitzen Trapper at The Lyric in Baltimore. I was not familiar with Blitzen Trapper prior to the concert last night, but I mostly enjoyed them. Wikipedia lists them as an experimental country/folk band. That sounds about right. Some of the music I really liked and some of it I didn’t hate but wasn’t in love with either. It definitely broke along the experimental line. The stuff that sounded more 60s/70s folk rock to me (think Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Neil Young) I was a fan of, the rest less so. Lady on the Water is one of the songs they played last night that I liked.
I have wanted to see Brandi Carlile in concert for a long time now, but have either had no one to go with me or have been otherwise engaged when she’s been in the area. I still didn’t really have anyone who wanted to go with me to the concert, but I forced my husband to take me because I really wanted to go. I try to not force him into too many concerts because I know they’re not his thing and if you drew a Venn diagram of our musical tastes the circles would only overlap the tiniest bit. I at least figured he would enjoy the music off Brandi Carlile’s newest album, Bear Creek, even if he didn’t like her older music. He of course won’t admit to anything lest I force him to listen to more music and attend more concerts than I already do.
I’m so glad I dragged him though because the concert was fan-freaking-tastic. Everyone I know should want to go with me next time she’s in the area because Brandi Carlile is an amazing performer. This show had pretty much everything I’m looking for in a concert. The music of course was great. She’s touring to promote her new album, so of course I’d say about 50% of the songs were off that with the rest a mix of music from her previous albums. I was totally fine with that as I would say that Bear Creek is actually my favorite of her albums. She was super engaged with the audience. She got them singing and clapping a lot. She told lots of stories about stuff she was just thinking about or about the ideas behind the songs they were playing, which I always love. It was obvious she and the band were up there having a great time and not just going through the motions. The Lyric is a beautiful old opera house in Baltimore, so she said in a space like this it would be a crime to not step out from behind the mics and do a song acoustically, which was wonderful. They also put their own spin on a couple of covers, which I also like in a live concert. They played Dolly Parton’s Jolene and Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to U, which on reflection were the absolute two best covers they could have chosen to play. If you had asked me what songs I would want Brandi Carlile to play I wouldn’t have been able to answer you, but now I wouldn’t be able to answer with anything else. These two songs I think perfectly reflect the spectrum of her music.
I often have a hard time choosing what songs I’m going to embed in posts like this, but I decided on these two for a couple or reasons. One, they bookended the main set. She started out with Raise Hell and ended with The Story before coming back out for the encore (Also kudos to them for coming almost immediately back out after they left the stage. Let’s not kid anyone at this point. Until the house lights come back up we all know you’re coming back on stage. Musicians that stay off stage for lengthy periods before coming back out for the encore drive me nuts.) Two, I also think they demonstrate perfectly what I was talking about regarding the cover songs she sang reflecting the spectrum of her music.
The Story is the title song off her second album and the first Brandi Carlile song I ever remember hearing. It’s a beautiful song and I love it.
Raise Hell is off her newest album. I like the whole thing, but I think this might be my favorite song from it.
If you ever get the chance to see Brandi Carlile in concert, don’t stop to think about it, just go.