"Don't be fooled by the sophistication of the evening (or by my fancy jacket). This is a shit show!"
That was Brandi Carlile, going straight for my heart while holding the entire Schermerhorn Symphony Center in the palm of her guitar string calloused hand. Even before the symphony came out to back her she had the room following her every note through old songs, new songs, and cover songs. Things only got more magical when the Nashville Symphony Orchestra joined her on stage. There's something about the sound of a symphony that makes you feel all at once a cultured grown-up and an awe-filled child.
This. Is. Music.
The highlights of the evening were many. When Brandi and "the twins," her two guitar/bass/vocal accompanists, stepped out in front of the mics to play The Eye, a song from her upcoming album. When she called upon the spirit of Dolly Parton and played Jolene - I kept looking in the wings thinking maybe, just maybe, Dolly would join her. Her first big hit, the emotion filled The Story. And her final song, dedicated to her two week old daughter waiting for her at home, an unforgettable rendition of Hallelujah.
Between Brandi's incredible songwriting, her voice - from the high notes to the grit, and her storytelling charm and humor, she was an incredible match for the talent-filled symphony, where only in Nashville such a cultured pearl can turn rock and roll.
Brandi, come back soon.