By Kristi Kates
Brandi Carlile may be a relatively new face on the folk-rock circuit,
but shes paid her dues with years of performing in obscurity.
Carlile started singing at the age of eight, picked up the guitar at
the age of 15, and snagged a gig as a backup singer for an Elvis
impersonator by the time she hit 16. She followed up that experience
with years performing around the Seattle club scene alongside twin
brother musicians Tim and Phil Hanseroth.
Almost 14 years later, Carlile has finally hit her stride as a
folk-rock performer, having been signed to Columbia Records since
2004. Her debut album, Brandi Carlile, was followed up by her
sophomore album, The Story, which spawned the hit single of the same
name and led to her touring as a support artist for the likes of
Hanson, Chris Isaak, Tori Amos, and Shawn Colvin.
But it was her recent experience working with Elton John on her latest
album, Give Up the Ghost, that was a real pinnacle for the performer.
On ...Ghost, which was produced by Red Hot Chili Peppers/Dixie
Chicks/producer Rick Rubin, Carlile collaborated with Elton John on
her song Caroline. It was a situation in which Carlile found herself
momentarily stunned by her good fortune, but her gift of gab kept on
rolling; when asked if there was anything she wished shed said to
John during those studio sessions that she didnt get a chance to, her
answer is quick and humorously incredulous.
On the contrary, she laughs, I think I wish I hadnt said some things!
Elton John, Carlile, elaborates, was impressive to work with, and she
found him as funny as he is an inimitable professional.
The experience of working with Elton was everything anyone would
hope, she says. It felt really important, but was also hilarious and
light. I have to say above all, I was really touched by his grace and
Now on the road with the aforementioned Hanseroth twins, who make up
the base of her touring band, Carliles upcoming show at Interlochen
is sure to feature the fan favorite single The Story as well as
plenty of new songs from Give Up the Ghost, and perhaps a few
trial-run songs, as well.
Carlile herself, meanwhile, simply tries to stay grounded as much as
possible on the tour bus, relying on a bit of horseplay and regular
folk activities to stay sane as she careens around the country
promoting her music. And as for her road luggage - well, unlike many
rock performers who might require cases of hairspray, a special
wardrobe, or a long list of dietary requests, all Carlile really needs
is friends... and a fishing pole.
To stay focused on the road, I like to wrestle around with the twins,
drink tons of coffee, and fish, she says simply.
Brandi Carlile will be performing at Interlochens Corson Auditorium
on August 24 at 8 p.m., with special guests The Watson Twins. Tickets
can be purchased online at https://tickets.interlochen.org; for more
about the show, visit www.interlochen.org and Carliles own website at