How have I missed Brandi Carlile all these years? Maybe I should’ve been paying more attention to Grey’s Anatomy, which featured her music on several occasions. One of the show’s stars, Broadway veteran Sara Ramirez, covered Carlile’s “The Story” on her own debut EP, but the original is miles better. The only artist I can compare Brandi Carlile to is Glen Hansard – both somehow sing their hearts out on every track, every time. “The Story” is an epic song that will stay in your head for days. I discovered Brandi through her four-track Noisetrade sampler, which you can download for free below. Two of the sampler songs were taken from Brandi’s stunning 2011 collaboration with the Seattle Symphony, Live at Benaroya Hall.
The symphonic arrangements on Live at Benaroya Hall add depth to some wonderful Carlile songs. “Before it Breaks” and “Looking Out” are the standouts. The album also features four covers – Elton John’s “Sixty Years On,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and an interesting turn by her back up band, The Hanseroth Twins, on Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence.” The fourth cover is a surprise, Carlile being one of few artists who continue the tradition of hidden tracks. More free music from Calile can be found on this NPR World Cafe recording from 2006 – it includes an awesome cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” around the 13-minute mark.