Brandi Carlile: By the Way, I Forgive You
Since her breakthrough album The Story was released in 2007, Brandi Carlile’s appeal has laid in those moments when she cuts free and unleashes, when her startlingly beautiful voice reverberates against every corner of the room—and each of her albums has included a few of those choice expressions. Her sixth record, By the Way, I Forgive You, is packed with these moments, and it’s easily one of her best. Take first single “The Joke,” a sweeping piano ballad that speaks some sense to insecure kids. Listening to the chorus is like watching a bird take flight; with each line, Carlile’s voice climbs higher into the sky: “Let ‘em laugh while they can/Let ‘em spin, let ‘em scatter in the wind. I have been to the movies/ I’ve seen how it ends. And the jokes on them.” “Hold Out Your Hand” brings in a full choir of voices for its folk-band march, Carlile’s voice shooting above the others as the music rhythmically pulses forward. You can almost picture her standing atop a parade float with a megaphone. Carlile and her wife had their first daughter in 2014, and many of these songs contemplate a parent’s role. The hushed, lovely “The Mother” will bring new parents to tears; consider yourself forewarned. “She’s fair and she is quiet lord/ She doesn’t look like me. She made me love the morning/ She’s a holiday at sea/ The New York streets are as busy as they always used to be/ But I am the mother of Evangeline,” sings Carlile, proud and humbled. By the Way, I Forgive You is a set of 10 wonderfully crafted, elegantly sung folk and country tunes—fans will expect nothing less.