Brandi Carlile - The Firewatcher's Daughter
In the three years since she released Bear Creek, Brandi Carlile has been on the road, evolving her relatively stripped down show to a completely unplugged live experience - no speakers or electrics of any kind. It’s an interesting experiment that she’s used in the back-to-basics videos released to support the lead tracks from The Firewatcher’s Daughter. Staying true to the concept of using natural surroundings and live takes on this her fifth album – all the songs were recorded with no demos or practice – gives the songs a fresh, organically-produced feel.
The Firewatcher’s Daughter continues the folk-rock vibe that’s been a constant for Carlile, ably assisted - as always - by co-writers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, who sing and play on every track. There are deviations though: the hard rocking ‘Mainstream Kid’ for example, while the indie rock of ‘Blood Muscle Skin & Bones’ and ‘Alibi’ quicken the pace. Thematically, due to the Hanseroth’s and Carlile's recent, separate, additions to their families means a focus on relationships throughout - the sweet ‘Wilder (We’re Chained)’ conveys the bond between parent and child; the regret-laden ‘The Stranger At The Door’ and surprisingly buoyant ‘Things I Regret’ riff on missed chances. A version of the Avett Brothers’ ‘Murder In The City’ closes with a plea for love over revenge. And that epitomises the feeling here: one of love and positivity whilst being mindful of the past. The Washington state singer exudes joy and freedom, able to properly express herself in her natural environment.