Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Country-Rock
It takes a particular kind of musical craftsman to be able to work within the confines of the country/pop/rock genre whilst simultaneously tweaking each new album to sound stylistically different without betraying the “rules” of the genre. Brandi Carlile has managed this sometimes impossibly difficult feat with her previous three efforts, even though her last, Give Up the Ghost, was just too dark and thick with hard-edged amelodic tendencies to really get behind. Her latest, Bear Creek is a light hearted auditory experience loaded with heavy content.
Named in honor of the converted turn-of-the-century Washington barn where it was recorded, Brandi Carlile's fourth studio outing, the rough and tumble, sweet and soulful Bear Creek, is as fiery as it is bucolic. Carlile's wonderfully expressive voice is as tailor-made for country as it is for roots rock, and the 13 cuts on Bear Creek lean heavily on the former, striking a nice balance between the nuanced twang of Alison Krauss and the bluesy cockiness of Bonnie Raitt, especially on the spirited, boot-stomping opener "Hard Way Home," the sweet and steady "Keep Your Heart Young," and the gospel-kissed howler "Raise Hell. " The notion of diminishing youth (Carlile turned 30 during the making of the album) plays a pivotal role on Bear Creek, and contributes to some of its finest moments.
Washington State native Brandi Carlile has released five studio albums, a smattering of EPs, named her horse after her first guitar (it was a Sovereign) and spent time in her teen years as a backup singer for an Elvis impersonator. She's a woman obsessed with music and it shows in her practiced guitar picking ("Save Part of Yourself"), preternaturally strong voice ("Raise Hell") and the perfectly pop-folksy music style she carves out on her latest album, Bear Creek. Taken as a whole, Bear Creek is a meditation on sucking the marrow out of life.