There really was no reason for me to sit on Brandi Carlile for so long. I had certainly known of her for a while, considering she’s been one of the Seattle area’s most beloved musical exports for the last decade or so. She’s even a frequent supporter of my favorite record store, while being the clear heir apparent to Neko Case, the Northwest’s other alt-country sort-of-superstar. But I suppose the alt-country space is a weird one to be in, as it’s an uphill battle trying to gain the more ardent country fans as well as those indie rock fans who will only occasionally listen to something with some twang in it. Yet somehow Carlile has managed to do both while racking up a slew of Grammys.
As I mentioned, I have not listened to any of Brandi Carlile’s many previous albums, but the vibe I get is that In These Silent Days is just one more strong album in a long line of them. Which absolutely is how this album sounds to me. There’s an assuredness to the album, not just in Carlile’s songwriting and vocals, but also in the way the backing band really lays into these songs, both in more rocking material like “Broken Horses” as well as the more introspective material befitting of the album’s title.
The back half album in particular goes in a more somber direction, some of which feels like personal reflections on relationships and what binds or unwinds them. Not sure that Carlile is bringing a ton new to these types of acoustic guitar-driven ballads, but it adds a nice counterpoint to the more boisterous moments on the album and helps paint an overall picture of Carlile’s versatility. Whether this will lead to Carlile reaching more and more out of her comfort zone (possibly like her searing cover of “Black Hole Sun”) will remain to be seen, but I’ll be rooting for her.
Favorite Tracks: “Right On Time”, “Letter To The Past”, “Sinners, Saints, and Fools”