Tag Archives: In These Silent Days

Brandi Carlile: 240% More Likable

8 Jul

Covid slowed down enough that I got to go to a concert for the first time in quite awhile. The variants are still around, and N95 masks are more expensive so nobody is really wearing effective masks any more. I’m just hoping that my vaccine and booster do their job, and I’m relying on the fact the show is outside in open air so my risk will be reduced. We had tickets to the Indigo Girls with the Symphony in May, and I was really worried about being indoors with a lot of (singing) strangers. I haven’t gotten Covid, and don’t want to, but also–it’s my top fave of all time, the Indigo Girls. If there’s anyone to take a risk for–it’s them! But unfortunately, that show was cancelled… Because someone came down with Covid. So I had been disappointed, but also relieved. Because that is a pretty high risk situation, and I would never go to a movie theater or the dentist yet because being in enclosed spaces with strangers is still really gross and a high risk. I really hope I don’t get sick! But hopefully that won’t be a factor for this outdoor show.

The venue: Starlight Theater is probably the easiest venue I have ever dealt with (maybe Deer Valley with all its free ski parking, actually, now that I think of it). But it was pretty easy for us because we got an AirBnB shack (this is not an exaggeration) in the run-down neighborhood across the street from the venue, so we were able to walk 1.5 miles and have no logistical car issues! Though I was legitimately afraid the entire time that my car’s catalytic converter would be stolen. I parked it in between our shack’s porch with visible Ring camera and the (literally) condemned house next door, so it was sort of tucked in. Two nights cost $307.42!!! Wrong address given in the confirmations *eye roll* Landlords are on my ultimate bad list right now, as you know [see Emergency Move post from January 2022].

But walking was EVERYTHING!

The sound at the venue was effing amazing too. Someone on Reddit said it was better than Red Rocks, which may or may not be a bridge too far, but I will say it was better than the Gorge. But only because it is smaller and less open than the Gorge. There was no bad seat either. We could afford the 3rd row from the very back, but it still felt like row 8. I could see perfectly!

Katie Pruitt is one to watch! She came out feisty and with big energy and rocked out most of her setlist. The pipes are unreal and I have to put some of the songs on my “Pipes” playlist along with Whitney and other legends, because it was that amazing. No wonder Brandi picked her. I played Pruitt’s stuff on the treadmill later and Spotify made them sound substantially lower key and slower, so I’m excited for her next tracks. I hope she brings that energy to the studio. New fan for sure.

Tanya went next and I don’t really know her, but a lot of people in the crowd did so it was a fun set as well.

It was my eighth Brandi show and it was a good one, though I think because of guests it was spaced out a bit weird. When the show ended I was incredulous how early it was! But the encore ended up being a full third of the concert so it ended up better than expected. If I were the band, I might have done something like DMB did with Acoustic vs Electric sets and have an intermission between the actual band and the guesting people. But since the encore was SIX songs long, I didn’t feel shorted or anything. Everyone was full of energy from 1st note to last and the feedback loop between the performers and the crowd was strongly positive and amped up.

To open the show, the twins came out and jammed out. An instrumental version of 2 song choruses were played, but I should have written them down. It was energetic though.

Setlist:

  • Broken Horses
  • The Things I Regret
  • The Story (dedicated to a fan who donated to Looking Out Foundation)
  • The Eye
  • The Mother
  • Mama Werewolf
  • Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • Rocket Man (Elton John cover)
  • Right on Time
  • Cannonball
  • Sinners Saints and Fools
  • Happy Birthday to Josh the celloist? I think–I took it for me
  • The Joke

Encore:

  • Mainstream Kid (w/Katie Pruitt)
  • That Wasn’t Me (w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Bring My Flowers Now (Tanya Tucker cover w/Tanya Tucker)
  • Hold Out Your Hand
  • Stay Gentle
  • Over the Rainbow (July Garland cover)

I thought the slow stuff when on a bit long–we were sitting for at least songs 5-8, and 4 low-key songs in a row is two songs too many probably. I didn’t really like the Joni Mitchell song itself, but I could tell it was very technical and difficult to sing and play, so it was fun to take in even if I wouldn’t buy the CD.

Brandi’s outfit and aesthetic really fell into place during the Elton John cover! I was doing the ugly sweat the entire day in moisture-wicking tank and skort so I KNOW she was effing dying of heat. You couldn’t tell though.

I had been particularly excited to hear Sinners Saints and Fools live because there is SO MUCH potential for cool instrumentation and rocking out. I won’t say I was disappointed with the song (though I did miss the motorcycle-sounds at the end like it is on the track) but I will still say its potential is unfulfilled–there’s still the next show, right?

I went to the show for my birthday, so it was absolutely perfect that happy birthday was sung to a band-mate. I imagined it was for my own b-day.

The encore Mainstream Kid was the best version of this song so far, and I sang and danced my a$$ off the whole time!

Tanya Tucker was decidedly post-60 and her talking points, mutterings, and costume changes provided me with a lot of humor. I never really knew any of her music before so I wasn’t familiar with any of it–but the crowd loved her. It seemed like some people came to see her, rather than Brandi, because she had quite a following and cheering section. I will say–kids, don’t smoke.

I’m happy to say she did the encore in a t-shirt because it was HOT out.

Hold Out Your Hand was a great choice to end the “encore” which I am regarding as the guest section of the concert, as it is probably Brandi Carlile’s most fun song in the catalog. It was fun to see her try to do the stanzas as fast as she did on the album (I think she made one–no shade, bc it’s FAST). I don’t know all the words, but I wish I did because she makes it look really fun to sing.

Then what I am considering the true encore was slow, which is nice for an encore. And the tribute to Pride brought tears literally to my eyes.

It was a really nice time, as always. And per the usual, I came out of the venue liking Brandi 30% more than I did before. I think that’s 240% more than my initial impressions (which were great!) if my math is correct. It’s happened like that every concert. She just seems so nice, and genuine, and she has such a talent! She is one of my favorites. Can’t wait to see her again, and I will most definitely go back to the Starlight. Though it would be really nice if she could make it to Saint Louis some time.

This Time Tomorrow [Brandi Carlile In These Silent Days]

20 Jan

The third track is This Time Tomorrow.

This song compares well with a few other songs in Brandi Carlile’s catalogue [see my post about these songs, Travelin’ Man: https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=11954&action=edit%5D. It’s a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all of those songs, the narrator says their heart is always with the other person. And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their lover again. But this iteration is more downtrodden and hopeless, with lyrics like:

begins to grow faded/hard to see the ground on which you stand/feel like a stranger/carve a faith/broken spirit /hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished/no words of comfort/lost and without love/fight to kill that deafening sound/holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone/haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon

The light has gone out of the partner’s eyes. Not only can this partner not be counted on anymore to ground our troubled narrator, the main character is indicating that the other person is so unstable, the ground cannot even be seen. The lover isn’t grounded at all anymore.

Thus, instead of feeling comfort when physically home with the partner, the narrator feels lost, like a stranger. There is no familiarity anymore. Carving a faith is laborious and doesn’t come easily. Spirits were once hopeful, but now the partner left home is broken. The narrator holds their lover tightly, though every positive emotion has already vanished. Instead of coming home to comfort and love, the narrator only finds a stranger they have lost track of, and who gives them silence.

Through all theses signs of being over, the narrator insists their previous dreams (hopes) haven’t disappeared. Haunt us like ghosts of Babylon is saying their tangible love, which had the couple feeling so hopeful despite constant distance (and a damaged traveler) haunts them now. The love and hope and support are only ghosts of Babylon. Babylon was the club in Queer as Folk. Queers like to use it because it’s this supposed wonder of the world. It’s supposed to be a comforting, accepting place of beauty. But it might not have even existed. It’s a good stand-in for something hidden, ephemeral, or elusive. Which also describes these past positive feelings in this relationship.

Brandi Carlile: Right on Time

17 Jan

First of all, I don’t understand Brandi’s new look.

It’s like David Bowe & wild-days Elton John mashed up. I get that those were her heroes/idols, but the look is definitely a “show look” not street wear. So I figured it must be like an era (al la Taylor Swift) and probably fit the theme of the new album. But it was confusing that the twins didn’t change their look at all. They looked the same as they ever did. But I waited for the album, hoping it would fall into place once I heard it.

Nope.

I don’t know what’s happening. The album is not a funsy-disco, or campy gay theme, nor is it thematic like outer space, or anything that warrants a costumy look. So I chalk it up to midlife crises. And the album might support that view…

It opens with Right On Time– With the words, “It’s not too late” this song sets the album’s tone. The piano-driven, lyrically-centered tune reminds me of “That Wasn’t Me.” That latter song was the single off of Bear Creek which is apt, because I think that album was the beginning of the story arc discussed in this current album. I feel like Bear Creek was all excitement and hope for what was to come, all getting together and family-building. While In These Silent Days is the impending ending/inevitable divorce, maybe staying together unhappily in co-dependence

There are nice bits of electric guitar w/the piano, to show both regret and a bit of edginess. And oh, the singing! Brandi’s voice shines through this song, as well as every song on the entire album. She is always a stunner on vocals, but in each track she makes sure to showcase it, not in just one or two outstanding singles. In this album-opener, Brandi hits that high note. Twice. Then it’s an even higher note!

Brandi/the narrator of the song acknowledges bad behavior, which does warrant anger/hurt in the other person, but makes clear it’s not too late, and she(?) wants to try again. So this album starts at big relationship problems, and indicates things are about to fall apart. But the main character is grasping tightly, not wanting to give up and let go.

Travelin’ Man: A Trilogy of Related Brandi Carlile Songs

2 Nov

The song, “This Time Tomorrow” on the new album, ‘In These Silent Days’ is quiet and a bit inconspicuous. But I noticed a theme running through Brandi’s catalogue: This song compares well with “Closer to You” and also to “Wherever is Your Heart” off Firewatcher’s Daughter. It’s (all 3, really are) a song from the perspective of a person that travels a lot, and is very busy. But in all three songs, the narrator says their heart is always with their love back at home (GF? wife? the subject may change over time). And that narrator looks forward to physically being with their partner again. I’m going to awkwardly refer to whoever the primary perspective in the song as “narrator” because I’m not certain who this story belongs to. All 3 seem to write a lot of the music, and maybe it’s the combined experience of Brandi, Phil, and Tim. I haven’t seen interviews or other info that tells which one might be talking for sure.

Closer to You (the first written of these 3 similar sentiments):

I’m staring out at endless rows of green
There are miles of hay like I have never seen
Just when you think you’ve had enough and
your dreams come true
I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Tomorrow I’ll be lying under you
With a heart of gold and arms to fall into
I know that there might come a day
where my life is through
But I just want to be closer to you

My mind wanders through all that I’ve been hiding from
I tried not to let you down
Now I wonder if I’ve been doin’ something wrong
Help me get my feet back on the ground

Someday we might learn to tell the truth
We might even find the fountains of our youth
We all needed something real we all need proof
I just want to be closer to you
I only want to be closer to you

The tone of this song is excited, almost wonderous at these novel sights. And when the narrator gets fatigued of all the travel–all their dreams (of adventure? money? fame? musical growth?) come true. They will press on with the travel over the long term. The writer of this song thinks maybe they’re going about the relationship, career, and/or life wrong, The final verse conveys a searching for something higher-and alludes to a spiritual crises. Even so, the narrator has the tangible in their mate. And knows their loved one will be there to ground them when they get back home. It is indicated that the narrator KNOWS this person with golden heart will be there. There’s no doubt.



In Wherever is Your Heart, written early on in relationships, it’s decidedly upbeat and hopeful:

I think it’s time we found a way back home
You lose so many things you love as you grow
I missed the days when I was just a kid
My fear became my shadow, I swear it did

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

You made me feel like I was always falling
Always falling down without a place to land
Somewhere in the distance I heard you calling
Oh it hurts so bad to let go of your hand

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Even when you’re high, you can get low
Even with your friends you love, you’re still alone
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind
There’s a road that’s long and winding, it hollers home
I’m calling home

Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home
Oh God forgive my mind, oh God forgive my mind
When I come home, when I come home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home

Wherever is your heart I call home
Wherever is your heart I call home
Though your feet may take you far from me, I know
Wherever is your heart I call home



Or, might I say, the song of the song is upbeat and gives an optimistic vibe, and the chorus is true to that sentiment. This 2nd song says no matter how far apart geographically the two partners are, they both take solace in the fact that their hearts are together. They don’t need to be physically together to feel and know the love they share. BUT the verses betray a darkness in the narrator. They lost things/people as they aged, and reminisce about a simpler time of when they were a child. Now, they feel fear nearly always. The falling verse that’s next directly ties back to the plane metaphor in “You and Me on the Rock” and tells of that broken foundation that comprises this person. The narrator tells that even with this beautiful sentiment of loving and spiritually being with your lover, even when separate, their mind still fights. The mind is still lonesome amongst friends, sad during happy times, aberrant from the happy chorus.

Which brings us back to this current song, You and Me on the Rock:

When the fire inside that burns
So bright begins to grow faded
It can be hard to see the ground on which you stand
Though you may not be afraid of walkin’ in the darkness
You will feel like a stranger in this land

You can try to carve a faith out of your own
But a broken spirit may dry out the bone
And the edges of the night may cause you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
Yeah, I’ll always be with you

When the hope that you hold tightly to has all but vanished
And there are no words of comfort to be found
You will know what it means to be lost and without love
May you fight to kill that deafening sound

But our holy dreams of yesterday aren’t gone
They still haunt us like the ghosts of Babylon
And the breakin’ of the day might bring you sorrow
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow
But I’ll always be with you
I’ll always be with you

Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

repeats

Now the person at home doesn’t have a golden heart, but that bright fire faded. They can’t even find the ground, and aren’t the stable force they were in “Closer to You” anymore. Instead of coming home to comfort, the narrator feels like a stranger. Carving faith is more laborious than how easily it came in the first 2 songs… What is the exact same in all the songs, is the narrator will always be with this other person in spirit when they travel, just as before. The next verse gets at the heart of this entire album again. The lyrics reiterate that love has all but vanished, yet the narrator grasps tightly to whatever is left of it. The person left at home, no longer has words of comfort as mentioned in the prior songs, which makes the narrator feel even more lost than they already felt.

I like the new album, but it’s a bleak story. And this trilogy of songs shows the trajectory of a traveling person with a broken foundation who found, and then lost, love and now lives in a codependent state. ‘In These Silent Days’ tells the same story of the catalogue, just in a more condensed form.

PS- I think I’m going to do a few of these similar song postings, as I heard a lot of pairs and triplet songs while going through the album.