Brandi Carlile’s new release, Bear Creek, is another little nugget sent to me recently by Sony. The AR Department is good to us and they send us all the releases, many of which highlight mainstream artists of all genres. Hell, there are not too many recording companies left. So, good for them. A gold star, too, for promoting unique, talented, non mainstream artists. Carlile is one.
Bear Creek is her fourth studio album. The music is Country, but tinged with Bluegrass, Folk and even some Rock. This interesting combination is sung to the hilt by Carlile. She is blessed with a wonderful, expressive instrument, and it’s heard to full range effect on the thirteen songs, all written by Carlile.
The songs talk of love, loss, childhood, and regret, your basic Country ‘must haves’! But humour pops in, too: ‘ The devil gave me a crooked start when he gave me crooked feet’.
The lyrics match the melodies superbly - the one tenet all genres need for successful songwriting. Harmonically, the songs are fairly simple, but because Carlile believes so much in her material, the listener is captivated. Of course, belief is required. But that’s not enough (just watch any reality talent show). Happily, she has great talent, too.
Now to the big plus for long time readers of Audiophilia. This is an automatic ‘take to audio shows’ disc. That good! For a studio album, stunning. It sounds so natural. The recording from Bear Creek Studios is layered track on track, for sure, but producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker has produced a knockout sound. Little things like Carlile popping up falsetto, piano resolution, and a myriad of guitar sounds. Two or more members of the band do hand claps - and they sound very natural. Now, we all know how difficult they are to record - dives for Belafonte Live at Carnegie Hall!
Each song holds interest for the variety and unique sounds, the backing musicians are superb, and Carlile’s front and center talent is very special. Columbia (Sony) has a real musician in its stable. And with benefit of audiophile sound, we have a complete album. Highly recommended.
Playing Time: 50:56
1. “Hard Way Home”
2. “Raise Hell”
3. “Save Part of Yourself”
4. “That Wasn’t Me”
5. “Keep Your Heart Young”
7. “A Promise to Keep”
8. “I’ll Still Be There”
9. “What Did I Ever Come Here For”
10. “Heart’s Content”
11. “Rise Again”
12. “In the Morrow”
13. “Just Kids”