Brandi Carlile

Country singer

Bear Creek (2012) - 8/10


Grew up playing this CD in my mom's car when it came out and long after. This
is a great example of a modern country band with genuine personality without
excessive over-dubs and country radio-friendly production (because those stations
are so great right guys?).

On Bear Creek, Brandi Carlile proves that she is more
than a one hitter (The Story) and showcases material that is both trendy and
timeless, these lyrics could come from any contemporary cowboy rockstar
without a second thought ("Keep Your Heart Young" and "Just Kids") and is
simultaneously poetic and sometimes profound ("Hard Way Home", "Raise Hell"
and "That Wasn't Me"). Despite initially not coming off very cerebral, there's a
clear presence of heartfelt Americana within her approach to writing.

While the
band is doing the absolute bare minimum during their studio time, they get the job
done leaving zero complaints. I even saw them live with my mom and it was a great
show. They're no E. Street Band, and certainly don't take risks like a Grateful Dead
or Phish. However for a straightforward country act like Brandi, they're perfect.
Some standout moments include "Rise Again" and "100" which include emotional
undertones and amazing hooks and riffs.

"That Wasn't Me" is the song that truly
defines this singer for its brilliant piano chord progression and structure. Her particular
voice on this song remains unmatched on her other songs or albums. The genius of this
song is in its vague relatability. Brandi wrote it describing her friend's struggle with addiction,
but still incredibly relatable. Personally, it's difficult to connect with my family as important
as they are to me. My job and schedules get in the way of valuable time and it brings a sense
of shame because if your family loves you, time spent together is one of the most helpful and
meaningful things of all time. If you have already checked out Lucinda Williams and want
something more, Bear Creek is the way to go.